I received a call the other day from a salesman selling printers and photocopiers and it was painful to say the least. It went like this:
Salesman: “Good Morning Tony, Its John Smith from ABC Printers, is it a convenient time to speak?”
Me: “What’s it regarding, I asked?”
Salesman: “What it is is we are currently calling around all companies based in London, to find out what printers and photocopiers they have in place, their ink usage and the maintenance contracts they have in place with their current suppliers and seeing if there is anything we can do to save them money. We are one the leading companies in the market and have won awards for the quality of our printers...”
At this point, I am losing the will for HIM to live, however it continued:
“...and service levels and work with numerous blue chips corporations all over London providing them with our blah blah printers and photocopiers. They love the fact we offer a PMS system (I later found out from Google this stands for a print management service) which tells us when their ink is running low and we order it for them automatically. We are based in Reading and are wondering if you would be interested in having an appointment with one of my sales reps to discuss your current printing and photocopier contract?”
I wish this call was made up, however, it was one of the most painful, yet common sales calls I hear people make again and again and they wonder why they don’t achieve any results.
I label this call, the salesman’s Gush, for the simple fact they do not let the prospect get a word in edge ways and they just gush facts and figures all over them and hope someone will say ‘yes’. The truth is some do say yes; however that’s probably to get the irritating salesman off the phone and to stop gushing over them.
So how should a sales call like this be done? The key is to engage the prospect and give value and to get the prospect talking. In this day and age, no one likes being sold to; however people do like to buy. We can only get people to buy from us, if we know what they want and need and only then are we in a position to recommend them something. So my suggestion would be along these lines:
Salesman: “Good Morning Tony, It's John Smith from ABC Printers, thanks for taking my call. Are you familiar with my business?”
Me: “No, I haven’t heard of you, what’s this regarding?”
Salesman: “We have successfully helped many sales training companies like you, by reducing their printing and photocopiers costs and offering exceptional ongoing maintenance support. To see if we can help you as well, can I ask what are your current printing and photocopier requirements?”
If we analyse this opening statement, I have made it harder for the prospect to stop the call by not asking if it’s convenient to speak. I have told the prospect very quickly ‘what’s in it for him’ by explaining how we have helped companies like his. Rather than give the impression I am calling a long list of companies in London and you are my 77th call, I have specified the industry I have had major success in (sales training companies) to demonstrate I have done my homework before making the call. Finally, I have engaged the prospect by asking a good open question, which will get him/her speaking. Then based on the information gained, I would have allowed me to recommend one of my experts (sales reps) to have a free consultation to see exactly how we can help him.
So before gushing all over the prospect, think about whom you are calling and what value you can bring to their business and then plan your opening statement and questions to ask. Then make a great sales call.