Give your prospects a break when they say, I don't have time.Telemarketers still don’t get it.

Just this morning, I got a call from a telemarketer who was promoting subscriptions to an executive level magazine. I can appreciate what they are trying to do and the challenges that they face. However, if you were pushing an executive level magazine and you’re targeting executives, I would think that your communication style would be a little more executive-like.

So there I was, in the middle of a task when I got the call. Naturally I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop what I’m doing. I look at the caller ID on my cell and the caller registered as unknown. All callers that I have identified as important have names associated with them and their numbers are registered in my phone.

This is something that we’ve all done as managers. It’s called being an effective manager of time.
However, this morning I was curious. So, I connected the call, expecting it to be either something that I could listen to with half an ear or someone I could get rid of easily.

What I got was the telemarketer. She identified herself and asked to speak with Larry. She didn’t say, “Hello, Larry?” She said, “Hi my name is “Bobbie” and I’m with LoTech Magazine. May I speak with Larry?”

Now you have to realize that I always answer the phone with a “Hello, this is Larry…”

So when somebody responds, “Hello, Larry?” or, “Larry?” my perception is, “They are on a cell phone…”, “They are getting my attention…” “They are opening up a dialog…” or “They are re-affirming my name because they didn’t catch it.”

But when they start of with a “Hello this is Joe Bob from Hi-Fly Computers, Inc. May I please speak with Larry?” after I just said, “Hello, this is Larry…” it says to me, “They aren’t paying attention…” or “They are reading from a script…”

If you do cold calling over the phone, don’t do this. Keep your ear on the conversation.

Anyway, she goes in about what she’s doing for LoTech Magazine and says she needs to confirm some information.

Since I’m trying to finish my own stuff, I give her one of my well-used responses, “I’m in a meeting right now.”

Well, after I tell her that I’m in a meeting, she starts speeding up through here 10-point checklist of the things that she needs to collect.

I can tell that she went to the same driving school that I attended. The one that says when you come to a traffic light, red means stop, green means go and yellow means “floor it”. This strategy works marginally at best on the road. It definitely doesn’t work on the phone.

If someone says that they don’t have time right now or they are in a meeting, use the few seconds that you do have to get a commitment for a return call.

Don’t try to rush through the call to fill your quota of called numbers. It comes across as very amateurish.

From all of the material that I’ve been reading on telesales and cold calling, and from the time that I’ve spent in a call center making calls, I’ve seen a very interesting shift.

The mindset at one time was, “Don’t let the prospect on the other end of the line off the hook. They just want to get rid of you. Press forward.” Well, back then, the telephone was the only tool available, the pace of life was a little slower and people’s attention spans were a little longer.

Today, business operates at breakneck speeds. People’s attention spans are very short and they have a million things to attend to. We also have a lot more avenues to communicate with our prospect including email, websites, IM in addition to the phone. If your prospect is so busy that they can’t talk at that moment and you have something that truly is of value to them, get a commitment to call back. But in order to do that, a person will need to have a healthy dose of self-confidence and some phone skills. You won’t win their attention sticking to a phone script.

Bottom line, when somebody says that they don’t have the time right now, reschedule a new time with them and move to the next contact. It positions you as a professional salesperson who respects their time and activities.

There are over 300 million people in the United States today who are possible candidates for your products or services. Don’t get hung up on just one.