The Key to Sales Success: Pick Up the Phone!

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Written by on . Posted in Customer Interactions, Sales Productivity 2 Comments


This can actually be an extremely short article. The key to sales success? Pick up the phone, make the call, track the results, do it again. That’s it. You’re a successful salesperson.

OK, there is more to it than that, but one of the biggest obstacles to success anywhere, and certainly in sales, is substituting busy work for progress. “I worked hard all day, therefore I am a good and valuable employee.” One does not necessarily relate to the other.

There can be an astonishing amount of effort put into the planning that goes into organizing the top, medium and bottom groups of clients to call. Then within those groups, who first, second, and so on. Then you can lay out talking points and even roll play them with other people. You can study your product and prepare. You can get your files in order, straighten out your desk. Brew a cup of coffee, research their Twitter feed and Facebook pages. There is no end to the preparations that you can conjure up.

Someone once described to me how hard they’d worked on some project. Here is the gist of that conversation: “It was just so difficult! First I had to get up in the morning and I then put my feet on the floor. After that I had to stand up, and when that was done, I put my right foot out, and then my left and keep doing that until I get to the bathroom. Then …” You get the point without any graphic details – if we work at it, we can make any activity sound like it’s building the Panama Canal.

For me, some preparation for a call is helpful. But because I recognize in myself the ability to get lost in all of the above, to procrastinate out of some anxiety over cold-calling or even warm-calling, the single most important action I take every day is to pick up the phone.

I do it even when I don’t know what I’m going to say. I know my product well enough to talk about it without a script. I know my market well enough to understand customer’s needs and interests. I am articulate and can string comprehensible sentences together to make a point. So what’s the problem?

Sometimes we get blocked, procrastinate, get really frozen in breaking through to that first call, or even the second or third. Many times to get unstuck, I just reach for the phone, pick it up, dial the number, ask for the person – without a clue as to what I was going to say. And then, believe me, you get unstuck very quickly. I’ve had tremendous success in this way. Nothing canned, nothing insincere. Very active. You get a rhythm going once you get moving.

Sure, I stumble around now and then. No one cares; we’re all human, after all. And once in awhile we get some pretty good laughs.

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  • Keith Thompson

    One of the best pieces of selling advice I’ve seen in a long time. For many this should induce some serious self reflection.

  • Frank Hilliard

    Experience tells me that a call never goes as planned so I agree that you shouldn’t over think it – know your product, know your market, know your customer’s needs (if you don’t know ask) and go help them!

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