Here are 10 reasons why business development folks avoid making proactive calls — and for our purposes, let’s define a proactive call as one that’s made to a customer or prospect who you know when nothing is wrong. That is, it’s not a cold call, you have some relationship, and there’s no problem or urgent matter to address.

  1. We don’t want to bother the customer.
  2. We also don’t want to make them upset or angry with us.
  3. In turn, we don’t want to lose the customer as a result of the above two items.
  4. We figure if they need something from us, they will call us.
  5. We are legitimately busy.
  6. The customer is also legitimately quite busy.
  7. We assume the customer is thinking about us and our offerings as much as we think about our offerings.
  8. We figure their phones are already ringing off the hook.
  9. We don’t want to be “a used car salesperson.”
  10. We deal with problems and urgencies all day long with customers who are calling us. These folks are usually stressed or angry, and we don’t want to go to more of that by calling others who are also probably stressed and angry.

All of the above are the reasons why most industrial organizations don’t experience predictable organic sales growth.

And so, allow me to disarm them, one and all:

You are incredibly helpful and this work is about calling customers you have a relationship with. And so, #1 (bothering the customer), #2 (making them upset or angry) and #3 (losing them) are fears and discomforts in your head. They aren’t much of a possibility in reality. Nobody will scream at you if you ask them “What are you working on that I can help you with?”

Number 4 (they’ll call if they need you) is silly because if you’re out of sight, you’re also out of mind. Numbers 5 (you’re busy) and 6 (they’re busy) are quite correct, which is why it’s of utmost importance that you show up quickly to ask what your busy customer needs so that they don’t have to waste time thinking about it again later. When you call customers proactively, you are actually saving them significant time.

Also, we think about our products and offerings, and solutions, but the customer does not. We think about our stuff, and our customers think about their stuff, so #7 is out.

Their phones are not ringing off the hook (#8) because 95% of salespeople have the fears and discomforts listed here, which keeps them, too, from picking up the phone. We don’t want to be seen as a used car salesperson (#9) which is not at all how the customer views you when you ask them about their family and their work and how you can help. They see you as helpful — which is the opposite of a bothersome, annoying used car salesperson.

Finally, you deal with customer complaints and urgencies all day (#10) because that’s who calls you. People only call when their issue is urgent enough to pick up the phone. If they’re in good shape, they don’t call. They’re calling others they have problems with, but not you.

And so, we don’t call because we care too much right? We don’t want to bother, annoy, take the customer’s time, etc. But the customer doesn’t see it that way. When they don’t hear from you, they don’t assume you care too much (if they think about you at all). They see it as quite the opposite: they figure you must be silent because you don’t care.

Don’t hurt your customers and yourself like this. Call your customers when nothing is wrong, and allow them to thank you with their money.

Are you interested in a process that will help your sales and customer-facing teams predictably and organically grow your company? My clients achieve 15-30% annual organic revenue growth, year after year. The economy is changing. Protect yourself against slowdowns with an accountability-based proactive Selling Boldly growth process. Call me at 847-459-6322.