Suddenly the phone weighs 5,000 pounds. You can’t pick it up. You can’t make that dreaded cold call. The need to grow your business weighs heavy on your conscience. You can do it! You can pick up the phone and start making those calls! Here are some tips to start you on the road to introductory-calling success.
Develop a New Attitude
Many people feel they are “bothering” someone if they make a sales call. But remember, you owe it to your buying public to provide them with something that will save them money, improve the efficiency of their systems, or increase their sales. You are obliged to keep prospects informed and they, as consumers, have an obligation to keep informed of what else is out there. This bilateral relationship affords you the opportunity to reach your customers directly before they even realize your services exist (unlike other forms of advertising that either must be sought or stumbled upon, by the consumer). Your prospects may very well be currently buying products and services that you offer- give them the opportunity to buy them from YOU!
Use a script
The most important elements of a call are confidence and control on the part of the caller. A script will greatly reduce the “ahh’s” and “um’s” we often employ in conversation. Fill your script with probing questions and impending benefits and make sure you include a friendly introduction (including your name and company), possible objections (“Just send me something in the mail.”) and rebuttals (“Because we have such a wide variety of services available, it would be difficult to send you literature without knowing your needs.”) Be natural and conversational – a salesman who sounds as if they are a well-wound script-spewing machine is a turn-off. The customer must feel as if he/she is the only prospect on your call-list. You will probably only need your script for a few hours before you feel comfortable enough to proceed without it.
Qualify your prospects
Qualifications are questions intended to find out if you can develop a profitable relationship with the prospect. In order to prevent wasting time and resources, work into the conversation: “Is there anyone else that helps make these decisions besides yourself?” Prepare questions that will help guide your next meeting, such as “Who is your current vendor?” or “If you had a magic wand to make improvements on your current service, what would you do?” You’ll get many of the answers you need by asking the right questions.
Measure your productivity and discipline
Construct a realistic time frame in which to make your calls. Whether two hours per week or 50 calls per week, strict self-accountability will bring faster results on a more consistent basis. Imagine what a couple thousand calls per year could do for your business!
Dealing with Voice Mail
Do it sparingly! Your prospect most likely won’t call you back, and it could work against you if you leave too many messages. Remember, you’re prospect is already squeezing in 12 hours into a 9 hour day. If you don’t get your prospect “live”, either make another attempt later or ask the receptionist the best time to reach the prospect. You can leave messages sparingly, but persistence will get the prospect live!
Be exceptional at follow-up and record keeping
Effective Telephone marketing, like most facets of your business, requires discipline and precise record keeping. Take advantage of a good contact management database system. Purchase a list that outlines your target market and import it into your database. Better yet, start building your own in-house list. Maintain accurate notes, set callback alarms and follow up on the day you say you will. On many occasions, your prospect will advise you to call back next week, next month or in four months. Call them back as requested, and you will quickly be branded as a company worthy of respect and credibility!
Winning requires only one thing: Persistence
With enough phone calls, you WILL set appointments and close business. Ponder what it would mean for the growth of your business if you were able to set five new business appointments each week, and close one each week. Certainly you aren’t too busy for that.