Over the years I have read extensively on business and selling. I am always curious on how to get ‘NEW’ business. If you are a business owner, you probably receive several cold calls a week with someone trying to sell you a product or a service.
You probably hang up while muttering under your breath.
Stop and think! The only reason these calls persist is because they work! Go through the list below and then consider why phone selling actually works.
If you need assistance in tailoring your phone selling campaign to suit your business, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 416.488.1801.
Now….read the list below and think why many firms use phone selling.
BECAUSE IT WORKS
These tips are simple to apply and easy to use. And best of all, they work!
1. Call earlier. If you’re calling mid-level executives and above, call earlier, around 7:00 a.m. You’ll reach more decision makers between 7:00- 8:30 than you will the rest of the day.
2. Call later. Same as above, except call between 5:00-7:00. Seriously! Gatekeepers are gone and decision makers are curious about calls that come after hours.
3. Create a master list of prospects. On a yellow legal pad or an Excel spreadsheet, create a list of 25-30 prospect names, their companies and their phone numbers. Whenever you have some time you can quickly grab it and make calls without having to log in, find names etc. This gives you speed and efficiency.
4. Cycle your master list. Start at the top of the list and dial. No answer? Don’t leave a message, hang up. Call the next number, then the next, and so on. It’s fast and easy. Finished the list? Start at the top and quickly go through it again. You’ll get decision maker contacts here and there.
5. Don’t go overboard with research. Unless you have a highly complex product, minimize your research time. Glance at the web site and get a feel for the company, then make the call. The answers you seek lie in your prospect’s mind.
6. Get insider information. Here’s a great tip: call your prospect’s sales department. Tell the rep what you’re trying to do and ask if they can help. Get decision maker names, direct phone numbers, best time to call…and e-mail addresses…anything. Sales reps understand your plight and most will help you out.
7. Create a call guide for prospecting. On paper, prepare an opening statement, list the questions you want to ask, have your offer developed, create an objection chart, and be ready to close. Use bullet points, highlight key information, create a road map for your call, post it somewhere visible, and glance at it to keep you on track (or to get back on track).
8. Use your client’s or prospect’s name in an e-mail subject line. It gets their attention and increases the odds of the e-mail being opened and scanned.
9. Make a follow up call to your e-mails within one day. Use the one-two punch of visual and audio prospecting. Use them in harmony to increase awareness.
10. Script your opening statement word for word. Yes…script it. If your target market is more or less the same, why change your opener? Your opening statement is the most important element of the call. Don’t wing it. State your name, your company, the reason for your call, and above all, a benefit that you can offer your prospect. Get this down pat.
11. Don’t ask “Is this a good time?” It never is and you give your prospect an easy out. Instead, say “If I have caught you at a good time, I’d like to ask you a few questions, get a better understanding of your situation and determine how (your product or service) might be of value.” Then ask your first question.
12. Pay close attention to the tone of your voice. Over 80% of your message is based on the emotional quality of your message. Be upbeat. Have conviction. Above all, avoid being monotone.
13. Don’t leave voice mail messages when prospecting. Make at least three or four call attempts to reach your prospect live before you ever leave a message. Leaving messages is not a high yield activity; speaking to a live decision maker is.
14.Don’t spill your guts to the gatekeeper. Gatekeepers are not decision makers and they use your pitch to screen your call. ‘Confessing’ who you are, what you do and why you’re calling is an invitation for rejection.
15. Never use, “How are you today?” with prospects. It’s like a neon sign that says, “sales pitch coming.” It’s trite. Over 90% of prospects say that it does nothing to build rapport; in fact, it does just the opposite.
16. Master your opening. Practice it, rehearse it. Drill it over and over so that words flow easily and naturally and so you DON’T sound scripted.
17. Be prepared for initial, brush-off objections (e.g., I have a vendor; we’re okay right now; I’m in a meeting etc.) Begin by empathizing (I understand), then completely ignore the objection (because over 95% of the time, it’s false), then ask, “One quick question before I let you go…” This often gets the prospect to relax and open up. Chances are you’ll get something of value.
18. Prepare at least three compelling questions to ask your prospect that probe for pain or gain. Ponder this long and hard. A good question engages the client and gets them thinking.
19. Listen with a pen in hand. Take notes. Focus. Assess their tone of voice. Let them finish their thoughts. Don’t interrupt. Clarify what you don’t understand. Probe deeper using your notes as a guide.
20. Clarify objections before responding. Ask questions to make certain if the objection is legitimate or a smoke screen.
21. Close more casually. Ask the client or prospect if they’d like “to give it a shot” or “give it a try.” This informal close eases the tension and makes the person feel less pressured. It makes it easier for them to say yes.
22. Get commitment to the next step. For longer sales cycles, get commitment to the next step by asking for a follow up date and time (e.g. if they want a proposal, agree to this action but then ask for a specific date and time for the next call). This increases your odds of contact on the next call.
23. Be more persistent. Don’t quit so easily. Make at least four follow up attempts to clients and prospects that go silent. Use a combination of voice messages and e-mails. Space them 2-3 days apart. Be polite, but be persistent.
24. Send a handwritten thank you note to clients who buy. Handwrite the envelope. Use a real stamp. Show your client you took the time and effort. It goes a heck of a lot further than a quick e-mail. Do the extras.
25.Become a resource to your clients. Send articles, links, special reports … anything that builds value and helps you stay in touch. Be more than a source of product. Attach a note that says, “I thought of you when I saw this…” It flatters. They remember. It brands you.
There you have it. You probably know many of them. You probably forgot some of them. And there might be a few of them that are brand new. Whatever the case, apply them. Use them, and improve your sales game.