Businesses are always racing against deadlines or sprinting towards finish lines. Cold calling, or warm prospecting, can be especially tricky during certain times.
I’ve recognized trends in different industries that I often prospect – there are particular times when calling that will yield unsuccessful results no matter the business needs or wants. For instance, an HVAC company is often busy on AC jobs in the summer, while an IT company is usually busy at the end of the fiscal year or when a software update is due to release. Prospects are not as willing to listen when they are busy, so it’s important to be aware of major business activities within the prospect’s industry.
Being aware of industry trends and agendas will save you time and allow you to have more meaningful conversations with prospects. Keeping a mental or physical note of these “busy” times will give you a better chance at getting that 2-5 minutes to pitch your value proposition to your prospect and in turn will lead to more wins.
Still, you may need to prospect during these busy times. You’ll have to determine if being busy is a legitimate objection for your prospect or if they are trying to rush you off the phone. The reality is: we are all busy. I’ve heard this excuse four times today, and it is only lunch—not to mention, three out of four were personal accounts that I have an existing relationship with.
If you believe it is another objection because the prospect doesn’t know you or the value you bring, I suggest trying something like this:
- “I know how busy this time of year is for you, so I’ll keep this brief…”
- “I can only imagine how busy you are during this time of year…”
- “I know with the holiday/end of the year approaching you’re slammed…”
Then, follow the sentiment with a brief sentence highlighting or reminding him or her (depending on the relationship) of the value you can bring to their business.
You’d be surprised how much a prospect will open up if you show concern for their time, which will help you maintain good rapport with them. This can be the difference between another “Call me back next week” objection and a “This sounds like something that will bring value to our business” followed by a scheduled call. Show them you’re listening, show them you care, and you can get more wins.