These are two of the most meaningless phrases in Sales and yet 99.99% of us do it all day long. We call a client who has agreed to move forward on a proposal by a specific date and instead of directly asking for the order we “touch base” with them to see how everything is going. We call prospects 10x in the course of a month to touch base with them, hoping something has changed since our previous unsuccessful call. We leave pathetic voice mails and send e-mails referencing the fact that we’ve tried to reach that person multiple times with no luck. I bet some of you are reading this right now thinking “yeah, that is ridiculous….so why do I keep doing it?” The reason we keep doing it is because we’re lazy. “Touching base” and “checking in” give us an excuse to make a call for no real reason.
In speaking with executives nothing annoys them more than sales reps who call to touch base or check in. One VP even told me he eliminated a vendor from his evaluation process mainly because the rep was so annoying with their calls to touch base all the time. What’s worse is that vendor was in the lead for winning the business!! If you want to touch base and check in feel free to waste your time with non-decision makers and people below the power line. But, if you are speaking with ‘power’ think twice before you make that call.
I am now on a personal crusade to remove ‘touching base’ and ‘checking in’ from our sales vocabulary. Please join me in spreading the word. Make fun of anyone you hear in the office using these phrases. Put up signs in your cube to remind you never to say them again. Ask your friends and family to point out when you say it.
Here’s something to help rid the sales world of these phrases. The next time you’re about to make a phone call make sure you finish this phrase: “The reason for my call today is…..” If you cannot finish that sentence you shouldn’t be making the call. Think about it. “Now be relentless. That’s it, I’m done”