By Colin Wilson
Director, Key Business Advisors
Prospecting for opportunities and selling over the phone must be part of every sales professional’s daily routine. If you don’t use the phone to continually create and close opportunities for yourself, then your sales pipeline will diminish and frustration will take over.
Many people struggle with prospecting and selling over the phone, but there are ways you can help ensure your success.
1. Have a reason to call.
Determine the purpose of your call, and only call for that reason. If you are not clear about the reason you are calling, you will be stopped by the gatekeeper. Your purpose and reasons for a phone call could be any of the following:
– Research Call
Call for an appointment
– Follow-up campaign call
– Referral / inbound sales lead
– Demonstration / presentation
– Follow-up call from previous dealings
Next step in the sales pipeline
– Follow up and test the water
– Trial close opportunity to see where it sits in the pipeline
– Ask for the order and get the business
Close the loop on the sale
– Ask for referrals and identify more future opportunities
2. Link your call to one of your current campaigns.
Customers respond to campaigns and incentives, but most importantly, they want facts about what you can do for them.
3. Identify 3 to 4 main points you need to make.
You must make 3 to 4 main points that would spark the customer’s interest. One of those points must be a winner for the customer to want to buy from you or to see you.
4. List the key questions you need to ask the customer.
Make sure you have key questions that are linked to your 3 to 4 main points to increase your chances of winning over the customer.
5. Write down your call script.
Prospecting from a cold start can be hit-and-miss, so to improve your success rate, you need to have a good call plan and be prepared before you make your first phone call. Write down your call script based on the information you have from Steps 1 to 4.
6. Make the call and establish rapport with the customer.
Following your call script, get straight to the point after your introduction. Create a conversation with the potential customer to gather information. Don’t start selling over the phone until you establish rapport with the customer. Listen closely to what the customer is saying.
7. Prepare to answer the most common objections.
Be clear about what differentiates your business from your competitors, and prepare to handle the most common objections such as the following:
“I’m not interested.”
“I/we already deal with someone else.”
“I/we do not have the time or money.”
Your call plan must have the answers to these and other common objections, and create a sales opportunity for you. Make sure you know your call plan by heart so that the customer does not think you are following a call script.
8. Share examples to make the customer more interested in what you have to offer.
What information can you draw on to create the interest to buy from you or to make an appointment? Tell a story about what you have done for another customer like them. Good examples and case studies encourage potential customers to buy.
9. Maintain your motivation and positive attitude.
The end result with using the phone is either to sell or to get in front of a potential customer so you can identify the immediate needs of the customer and the opportunities for yourself. Set goals of how many calls you need to do over a particular period. The more enthusiastic and determined you are on the phone, the better your closing ratio. Remember to smile, laugh and enjoy every call.
People who use the phone to connect with prospects and customers need lots of coaching, mentoring and encouragement to keep going. Business owners have high expectations from staff who use the phone, but sometimes they simply need to ask their staff, “If you were the customer, would you make a purchase considering the quality of that call?” On the other hand, staff on the phones need recognition and praise, so business owners must listen to them and congratulate them when they make great calls.
Click here to download our free guide to successful selling and prospecting over the phone and share it with your team. If your business can benefit from training and coaching on successfully connecting with prospects and customers over the phone, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 4 ADVICE.