Don't do the 'talking mailshot'!
NRG Synergy Newsletter 37 1 Nov 05
Having got a great recommendation to someone from a colleague, do your subsequent sales calls to that person sound like a 'talking mailshot'? If so, it's time to start getting professional. Here's the low-down on the right approach.
With more and more consumers signing up to make sure they don't get sales calls, it's getting tougher out there. Even businesses can opt out in the UK. Thankfully the numbers are pretty small right now, but there is a growing hostility to cold calling.
So, what to do, fellow salesperson? Easy. When you call another business, don't sound like a typical salesperson. Let's look at what consumers don't like about calls at home, and what we can do to avoid the same thing.
Reading a pitch
An old joke in the telemarketing game is that some companies use the 'vapour test' when hiring. They place a mirror in front of an applicant's mouth, and if they create fog on the mirror by breathing, they're qualified and hired. Being able to read and speak well are added bonuses!
Obviously you don't want to sound like you're reading something. However, the very thing that some salespeople are afraid of causes them to not be successful: using a prepared script.
You see, if you know exactly what you're going to say in the first 15 seconds of your call, and have practised it so that you can present it like an Oscar-winning actress delivering her lines, you will be more successful than someone who just wings it.
And it is beyond me why anyone would pick up the phone without having prepared and practised. As I always say, the absolute worst time to think of what you're going to say is as it's leaving your mouth.
Script what you'll say in the first 15 seconds, and practise so you don't sound like you're reading from a script. And then, everything else you say depends on what they say. Being smooth then requires that you prepare and practise questions, responses to their answers, answers to their questions, and responses to resistance and objections.
It's not easy. That's why everyone isn't good at it. Hopefully you are.
Customise your calls
One reason consumers don't like calls at home is because they get calls for double-glazing when they live in a period house, for example. And everyone gets the same pitch. I call them 'talking direct mailshots'. And there are plenty of business calls that sound the same. It doesn't need to be that way, and shouldn't be.
If you're prospecting for new business, don't take the 'throw it up against the wall and see what sticks' approach. Target the businesses who are most likely to be your best potential buyers.
Identify what results you and your product or service can help them gain, what pains or problems you can help them avoid, and what other potential value you can possibly deliver. Then learn about them. Go to their website. Do a web search. Talk to assistants, screeners, anyone else in the company and ask questions to gather data and qualitative information before speaking with your potential buyer.
Then you can customise an opening that addresses them individually ... perhaps an issue they're facing right now or an initiative they're working on. Ensure that your calls are prepared, consultative, conversational, and deliver potential value, and you will never be viewed as the typical salesperson.
This is an extract from an article first published in Better Business.