The Best Time To Make Sales Calls and How To Keep Your Prospects
One of the best parts of being a salesperson is getting that deal sealed and signed off. But of course in order to get there, you have to call leads, qualify them, and chase prospects.
In the sales business it’s not a question of if you’re going to call a prospect at a bad time; it’s a question of when!
We all have different work and home life patterns, and the last thing you want to do is ruin the chance of a sale from calling your prospect at a bad time. Then of course how do you get them to call back once you’ve made contact?
Here for you is a fool proof guide for the best time to make sales calls and tips on keeping your prospects. Of course these are general tips, it is always best if you can use existing knowledge of that lead to inform your timing (and sales technique!)
What day to call
According to data collected from Inside Sales, their research has revealed that Thursday is by far the best day to call prospective clients.
This is because it is the last ‘proper work’ day of the week. The weekend is not yet close enough for them to relax their concentration. On the other hand, they are more than half way through the week, and the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ attitude is likely to be around.
It’s always easier to make a sale to someone who’s in a good mood!
Tuesday has been found to be the second best day for calling. Tuesday is generally the medicine to Monday.
The working week is officially under way, but prospects have already had the initial baptism of fire into the week’s work load. Tuesday is the day we start to get into the swing on things and prospects will be more willing to talk.
What time to call
Between eight and eleven am. You might think this is the worst possible time to call. After all, you’ve come into the office, got settled and already there’s someone on the phone asking for you!
However, this is the time when prospects will be fresh from breakfast and their first cup of coffee. Work can naturally become more relaxed in the afternoon when people start thinking about going home. So catch them while they’re in their best work mode.
Also bear in mind whether or not you’re aiming to have them call you back later the same day.
Between two and six pm. Prospects tend to be open to consideration after they’ve had lunch. If you call them on a Tuesday or a Thursday afternoon also, this increases your chances of success.
They will be considering going home in the afternoon but not the weekend – the weekend, for most people, essentially means absolutely no thoughts about work! A mid week afternoon however will find your prospect in a more relaxed and open minded mood to receive your call, and still be focused on work.
But remember to consider whether you would like them to call you back the same day. This is unlikely to happen if you call at six in the evening!
What days not to call
Everybody loves Friday for the same reason: the week is nearly over! If you’re feeling daring you might want to chance your arm and see if your prospect is feeling generous enough to do business as a good finish to the week.
However Dr James Oldroyd, a Business School professor, conducted research which clearly demonstrates that Friday is the worst day of week to call prospects.
Whilst workers are all more likely to be kinder to their colleagues on a Friday, they are less likely to make buying decisions.
Not only do they want to finish up all their loose end paperwork before the weekend begins, but business transactions on a Friday make no sense since the working week won’t start again for another two days.
Given that ideally you want your prospects to get back to you within the first hour of making contact, Friday really isn’t the day to be approaching them.
Monday is a complete write off. It is the official day to be resentful; it’s the start of the week and the end of weekend revelry. Can you see why prospects might not take kindly to you calling on this day?
While it’s not the best time to make sales calls, if you really must, aim to call them in the afternoon shortly after lunch. That way they will at least have a sandwich and cup of tea in them before you ask for their attention.
On a Monday, workers are generally sluggish as they get back into the working mindset and are more likely to be in a bad mood, which is not conducive to making buying decisions.
What time not to call
Generally speaking, lunchtime falls around one or two pm for most people. Obviously this will differ from person to person, but as a rule avoid this time period at all costs. Lunchtime is a time for, well, lunch!
Even if you do call, a lot of prospects might be out for lunch, or in business meetings, so you will only end up leaving them messages which is nowhere near as effective as speaking to them personally.
This covers the time between eleven am and two pm. Prospects, by this time, have warmed up and got into the ‘zone’ of the work day and haven’t yet reached the lunch break.
Whilst this can seem like a good time to call, the prospect would disagree! Usually crunch time hours are when everyone is really focusing on getting a task done before they relax over lunch. So if you call during this time you’re likely to get an answering machine or the classic ‘I’ll get back to you’.
Getting prospects to call back
The day and time you decide to make your call can greatly affect the success of a sale. But getting them to call you back is also hugely important.
It is generally accepted that you need to get a Prospect to call back within five minutes to an hour after you end your initial call. Chances of successful sales significantly decrease the longer a call remains unreturned.
Lines such as ‘If I don’t hear from you by the eighteenth, I’ll call you on the twentieth’, establish a future date for discussion. If a prospect knows you will call them back anyway they are more like to get back in touch themselves.
An email asking a silent prospect if they’re okay is a surprisingly effective tool. There is an opportunity to make your emails funny, which will make prospects smile and encourage them to get back in touch. It’s important to find the right compromise, but a little humour can help the prospect to see you as a person and not just a selling machine.
Perfect your voicemail tone
Chances are you will need to leave a few messages for your more difficult prospects. A clear and well paced voice is needed, but you also don’t want to sound like robot so keep upbeat and to the point. Remember key things to include are dates and times you will call again.
Keep a friendly tone even if your prospect has been silent for some time. Lines such as ‘It’s alright, I understand now might not be the right time for our businesses to work together’ will show your prospect you appreciate their time and interest. It can make all the difference if the prospect decides to get in touch as a result of your understanding
It’s not just about flogging calls to prospects all day long. When and what time you call will affect your success rates and how your prospects will see you when it comes to deciding whether or not to do business with you.
Choose the times of day that give most potential to making sales. When you get hold of your prospect, keep a polite and understanding tone with them so they know you are not just after them for their money and are genuinely interested in helping them and their company.
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