How To "Cold Call" - Top Tips for Successful Telephone Sales!
Insider Top Tips for successful telemarketing and new business calling...
Insider Top Tips for Successful Telemarketing and New Business B2B Calling...
“Firstly we should start by acknowledging that the whole concept of “cold calling” is an outdated premise... It invariably eaves people with a cold shudder, regardless of whether they are the recipient …or the intended caller! It conjures up images of teams of pre-programmed, scripted call centre drones, mindlessly badgering poor unsuspecting victims into wasting bags of cash on rogue schemes and dodgy products.
In reality, as long as you offer a service - or product - that holds a genuine benefit to your customers, what we are really talking about is the ability to pick up the phone and start having a productive conversation. Ultimately a key goal is to establish if your offering might be of potential value to the business person at the other end of the phone. As such, it is much healthier to think of the activity as merely an extension of the art of communication. With today's varied and savvy business decision makers, there really is no room for the presumption that a service or product is necessarily relevant to, or should automatically be bought by, everyone.
Outdated hard sell or pressurised styles are fast becoming a thing of the past. In fact, it is actually the ability to acknowledge that the benefits you offer are only potential ones, that separates the pushy sales person from the consultative business developer. Critically however, there is an entire art of language and phrasing that illustrates how the same question can generate two entirely different responses from the same person, depending on how the question is positioned and phrased in the first place. Our One Day Sales Master Class covers all the key techniques of using language positively and persuasively, without being perceived as even remotely pushy.
On the other end of the scale sits the fear factor – It is extremely common for many otherwise extremely competent and successful business people to simply feel too scared to pick up the phone and start making prospective calls. This is particularly true when attempting to generate new business from scratch. Without a clear structure for guidance and often with a fear of rejection from the outset, brave callers often have their will swiftly and unapologetically crushed by the first no-nonsense recipient, sending the caller into a pit of despair and low self-esteem. Mastering the psychology of becoming consistently successful and retaining ones optimism and dignity during outbound calling is an extremely valuable training lesson in itself. ( A session of which is also included on our One Day Sales Master Class.)
It is vital therefore to capture someone’s interest as soon as possible and justify your right to a conversation via a compelling and intriguing call opening. Coupled with this, is the importance of sounding human and natural – (You should not sound like you have spent the morning saying the same opening lines to fifty other people!) Think about what intrinsic value your product or service offers and why it may be worth the person on the end of the phone having a conversation with you about it. Traditional telesales training teaches sales people to find a "need" as quickly as possible, but this is often misinterpreted and very commonly over cooked. There is little point setting out with a mission to ask critical "need based" questions to reveal why someone should buy your services, without coupling this with stimulating two-way, engaging conversation in the meantime. With the absence of compelling dialogue, the chances are you will have long since lost someone's interest, or gained their inevitable irritation, well before you get the opportunity to turn those long list of “need-find” answers into anything meaningful."
As a starting point to Telephone Sales best practice, here are some key insider “Top Tips” for successful new business calling:
ENSURE YOU USE GOOD QUALITY DATA
Acquiring a cheap list of 2 million dodgy records from the internet may seem like a bargain at the time, but the advantages will be short lived and negative in ways beyond those of wasting valuable time and effort. Calling dead lines, asking for out of date contact names or people who left the business 2 years hence will have a significantly negative impact both on the caller and, more importantly, on your business reputation. In addition to GDPR legislation and TPS restrictions which make using poor quality data fraught with potential problems. As such, always invest in good quality, permission based data, which has been recently called and verified. Otherwise you are making your mission several times more difficult before you even start!
EXPECT MORE "NO’S" THAN "YES’S"
No matter how proficient your phone manner, or how good your data is, no calling campaign will generate a Yes every time. Work out just how many customers you actually need per week, or per month, as a minimum to make the process worthwhile. Then calculate your success initially in stages, such as 10 decent conversations or x number of appointments in a given time-frame equals success. Don’t let a few “No’s” cloud your efforts. Just as importantly, never sound as though you expect to hear a “No” – or you will almost certainly get one! Our One Day Sales Master Class has some unique tips and tricks when it comes to Handling Rejection which makes life infinitely easier and greatly assists the retention of a positive mindset.
AVOID SALES CLICHÉ!
We really cannot emphasise enough how important this is. People, and especially those making decisions in business, are NOT idiots. They do recognise waffle and cheesy sales tactics. They have heard it all before. Avoid cheesy sales lines at all cost. Be original, natural, polite and consultative and refresh your skill set regularly. Saying what worked five years ago is likely to be less productive today as the marketplace is tougher, more cynical and more companies are now in place competing to win the same business.
SET REALISTIC OBJECTIVES
Unless you have a simple offering that is usually sold in one call, make the purpose of your call simply to obtain an appointment or commit to an action following your initial discussion, rather than an in-depth specialist discussion or commitment to buy. This will make your calling efforts less time consuming and more productive. In addition, customers who perceive that they are not ready to use a service right away will often still agree to an initial meeting if there are no strings attached. History shows that initially tentative customers very often push forward their decision to buy after a productive meeting face to face meeting or after a more in-depth discussion. A face to face appointment gives you the opportunity to build rapport, establish trust and show that you are willing to invest your time in understanding the potential client’s business. It also affords you the opportunity to visually demonstrate the value and merits of your service and bring to life your offering via a visual presentation.
PERSONALISE YOUR APPROACH.
The more relevant you can make your call to the particular business or person you are calling, their situation, company status, company size or type of business; the more likely they are to be interested and engaged in what you have to say. Make sure you take the time to get off on the right foot from the start with a personalised approach. If you are calling a business who mentions on their website that they have just expanded the business or taken on a new office, then adapt your approach by acknowledging their situation or by explaining why this makes your offering of particular relevance at this juncture.
BE SURE TO EXPLAIN YOUR OWN BUSINESSES USPS (UNIQUE SELLING POINTS)
Whether it is the price you charge, your customer service levels, your speed and efficiency, SLAs or simply your value for money, you will have something that you feel you do better than your competitors. Ensure that you include this merit as a key talking point. Relay this information in the context of how you have helped other businesses like theirs achieve certain objectives, so that they can understand the potential benefits being offered - rather than just the facts.
CONFIRM ANY ACTIONS IN WRITING.
On booking an appointment or meeting, follow this up with a confirmation, calendar invite and/or reminder in order to avoid missed appointments. Provide your own full contact details. Keep the tone casual and friendly. Take a direct email for the person you are visiting and drop a polite reminder, plus a brief snapshot of your services, prior to the date agreed.
ENSURE THAT YOUR OFFERING IS COMPELLING
When your business sends out a flyer or mailshot, the objective should be to capture the recipient’s attention in the first few lines in order to justify them reading on. The same rules apply in best practice sales calling. Consider offering an extra good reason to choose your services. This is much more about value then price. Businesses are constantly receiving a barrage of contact from various companies promoting their services, so offering a particularly novel proposition, complimentary advice or helpful consultation up front will invariably make your proposition more attractive and pay off in the long run.
UTILISE THE OPPORTUNITY TO KEEP IN CONTACT
If the customer is not ready to use your service, or has an alternative in place, then take the opportunity to diarise a call at a later date or ask them what might need to change for them to consider your service later. A repeat call referring back to the original contact can often generate good leads again later in the year and gradual on-going contact can help establish your business firmly in the company’s minds as a local point of contact. However beware of the classic palm-off when customers apathetically suggest that you “call back in 6 months.” This is normally simply a gift-wrapped “No” in an attempt to avoid the discomfort of a flat rejection! Qualify call backs by establishing whether there is a likelihood that contributing factors may result in the possible requirement of your services at a later date. Alternatively, discover whether they might use your services if timing was not a factor. Take good notes so that you can personalise your follow up at a later date.
KEEP GOOD RECORDS
Be sure to keep a track of all your results, appointments, call backs, sales and on-going business achieved via your calling efforts. This will help you understand your own conversion rates and apply them to any future calling plans to track your improvement. Observe if there are patterns within businesses who are easier to contact at a particular time, or day of the week etc. Apply this logic to others in the same industry. If someone asks for a call next month, then be sure to call them. Efficiency and reliability are key qualities for businesses selecting their service providers. Taking the time to call when expected will help you build a better business relationship and win customers long-term.
MAKE LIFE EASIER FOR YOURSELF - LEARN LIKE A PRO
If the task of making new business telephone calls is feeling like tough going, or less productive that you'd hoped, then the great news is that there is light on the horizon! Why not make life easier for yourself and learn from an industry leading expert. For a relatively minor investment you can now attend an open One Day Sales Master Class, hosted by a multi-award winning sales trainer, specifically designed to share the key secrets & techniques that make new business calling feel much easier and generate infinitely better results. The Sales Master Class guarantees an absence of any hard sell tactics or cheesy sales lines! Perfectly aligned for the consultative professional, the course covers everything from The Psychology of Being Successful and Objection & Rejection Handling through to Navigating the toughest "Gatekeepers," How to make your Proposition Compelling & Interesting and The Art of Call Backs. Attendees emerge feeling confident and enthused and delegate feedback has been superb. The Business Support Initiative offer discounted rates with a 40% saving for attendees at our Sales Master Classes, held at prestigious venues across the UK. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE NEXT COURSE
If you are really not comfortable doing the phoning yourself then hire, outsource or nominate someone else to book appointments on your behalf. Not everyone is born to be a telephone sales person and it is possible your time may actually be more productive spent on face to face meetings or doing what you do best as the expert in your industry. In addition, having someone call on your behalf helps avoid long-winded specialist discussions on the initial phone call, keeping the prospecting calls brief and purposeful and setting an agenda for a proper specialist discussion with yourself thereafter on pre-qualified grounds. If you are using someone in house or delegating to a colleague then it is essential to incentivise the caller with a reward per appointment achieved in order to maximise their motivation. They need to feel that it is as much in their interest to win clients as it is in yours!
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