As a sales rep, you’re no stranger to rejection. You’ve made hundreds if not thousands of prospecting calls in your career, and regardless of how well you prepared or how perfect the prospect was for your offering, some of those dials resulted in hang-ups.
Getting hung up on occasionally is an unfortunate consequence of being in sales. Nothing to obsess over.
However, if hang-ups are the rule rather than the exception for you, something’s awry. Here are the top three reasons prospects hang up on salespeople. If you’re making one of these call-ending mistakes, take corrective action immediately.
1) Mispronouncing the name of the person or company.
If you have an unusual name, you’ve felt the pain of mispronunciation. When someone messes up your name, not only does your mood take a turn for the worse, but that person instantly loses credibility in your eyes. Clearly, they don’t know you, and didn’t care enough before meeting you to practice your name. It’s no wonder that you tune them out immediately.
This is exactly how prospects feel when a salesperson slaughters their name or the name of their company. A butchered pronunciation signals that the rep didn’t do their research, and frankly, doesn’t care. *Click.*
How to fix: Mispronunciation is the number one reason prospects hang up on reps, and it’s impossible to recover from. With this in mind, call the company and double check the pronunciation of your contact’s name before you dial them. Asking for gatekeepers’ assistance up front can prevent a hang-up later.
2) Ignoring the prospect’s objections.
Here’s a common cold call scenario you might be able to relate to:
Sales rep: “Hi there! I’m Mike calling from Business Inc. and I’d like to talk about your HR costs.”
Prospect: “Well, now’s not really a good time.”
Sales rep: “Okay, I understand it’s not a good time. Business Inc. can help you reduce your HR spend by 50%! We’ve worked with Company X, Organization Y, and Firm C! They found that by partnering with Business Inc. — ”
Prospect: [Hangs up]
What happened? Even though the prospect objected to the call, the rep steamrolled right past her concern and launched into his pitch. This makes it clear that the salesperson isn’t listening to the buyer. And when people feel they’re being ignored? They hang up.
How to fix: First of all, listen to and respect a prospect’s objections to your call. Maybe they’re telling the truth and maybe they aren’t, but that’s not for you to decide. Great salespeople know they should never ignore their prospect’s feelings, and this rule holds from the very first call.
Second, before you even pick up the phone, define a few alternative paths the call could take and a number of results that would be acceptable to you. For example, if you’re going into a call hoping to identify the decision maker but the contact brushes you off with a quick “I don’t have time,” pivot your ask in the following manner:
“Ah, it’s a bad time, okay. Well, in that case, where can I find more information about your company so when you have time I’m better prepared for our conversation?”
This question accomplishes two things:
- It lengthens your talk time.
- It disrupts the prospect from thinking about time and prompts them to think about resources instead.
You might not have achieved exactly what you wanted to on the call, but these alternative results are promising. In addition, you’ve set yourself up nicely for a second call.
3) Sounding scripted.
Note that I didn’t write “using a script.” You might be using a script, and you might not — either way is fine. But sounding like you’re reading a script is certain death for a sales call.
When a salesperson sounds like they’re reading from a script, they don’t treat their prospects as individuals, and their own humanity takes a hit. And if a prospect feels as if they’re being talked at by a robot, they won’t feel bad hanging up the phone.
How to fix: Don’t come off as a robot. Ensure you don’t sound scripted by following three simple rules.
First, lower your tone. Oftentimes, salespeople will start their calls with an unnaturally high pitch. Although reps might think they’re conveying excitement, prospects come to a different conclusion — the salesperson is being fake. Strive to speak in your natural tone for the entire duration of the call.
Second, slow down. Because fast talking can signal a scripted approach, the faster a rep speaks, the more likely it is that the prospect will hang up. Instead of trying to cram everything into a few seconds, slow your speech. You’ll find it’s much harder for a person to interrupt someone’s who’s speaking slowly than for them to interject during a lightning-quick pitch.
Third, sprinkle pregnant pauses throughout your call. Pauses prevent the knee-jerk reaction of a hang-up and also indicate that you’re truly engaged in the conversation. Not sure how long to stop for? I recommend around two seconds.
Remember — getting hung up on every once in a great while is normal. But if you want to reduce your hang up rate to zero, avoid these three common mistakes.