A Useful Sales Tip from the Pacific Tree Frog

“Crek-ek, crek-ek.”  Night after night, week after week, the frogs called out from under my window. Loud, repetitious and non-stop. At first, I thought they must be very big frogs. Turned out they were Pacific Tree Frogs. These tiny amphibians are less than two inches in length … about five centimeters. They’re the state frog of Washington State, but can range from Baja, Mexico in the south, to British Columbia, Canada in the north. They are also known as Chorus Frogs, and with good reason. In fact, those night sounds you hear on many Hollywood movies are recordings of the Chorus Frog … aka the Pacific Tree Frog.

What I was hearing, what was waking me up night after night, was the mating call of the male. Look, I love nature, and I appreciate a little romance as much as the next guy. But for heaven’s sake, when the female responds, stop posturing, make your move, get on with it and let the rest of us go back to sleep.

Apparently, the female would respond to the call and approach the male. Romeo, however, would be so engrossed in his singing, he wouldn’t even notice her. He’d keep on ribbiting. What a waste!

A similar ritual is practiced by many salespeople. Sad but true. They’re cold-calling machines. They make hundreds of dials every day … hardly, if ever, pause for air. Unfortunately, they never seem to sell much. Why? Why are they so ineffective? 

There are several reasons. One reason is poor training. Many times, they’re using a script written by somebody who has never made a cold call in their life. They write great copy about the features and benefits of the product. Then the cold caller gets someone on the phone and starts spewing out information like a machine gun. Guess what? The recipient doesn’t care.

Everybody is busy these days. They only care about things that really matter to them. People don’t have time for all the other fluff. “Clunk” is the sound of the phone hanging up on another wasted phone call.

Those salespeople don’t know how to make effective sales calls. They don’t know how to ask questions. They don’t know how to listen. Doesn’t matter to them if they’re talking to a real prospect, or someone who’s not interested, they just dial and talk, dial and talk. What the customer might want never occurs to them. It’s all about them and their products. 

It doesn’t have to be like that. Usually it’s not their fault. They need better training and coaching.

It’s a shame … a shame because it’s difficult to find salespeople who will make enough calls. Look, you have people with the gumption to make the calls, people who are not afraid to prospect, and it’s wasted because they are ineffective. They’re like the Pacific Tree frog, ribbiting away into the night, oblivious to the opportunities around them. Eventually, they’ll get frustrated. They’ll burn out and quit. Help them, help your company and help yourself. Hire good people and train them. The investment will pay for itself multiple times over.

Sales in not easy at the best of times. It’s hard to cut through the noise and the clutter, and get people’s attention. When you do get that short window of opportunity, please don’t blow it. Please make sure your salespeople have the training and skills they need to be successful. Make sure they’re not just aimlessly ribbiting.

I’m Oliver Connolly and I help sales managers build sales teams that sell. To explore ways I might be able to help you, email me at oliver@streetsmartsalesmanagement.com.

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Oliver Connolly