The humble telephone. Everyone’s got one and everyone’s been on the receiving end of bad telesales experiences but not all is doom and gloom. By following a few very straightforward tips you can cut through the negatives and give your prospects a positive and mutually rewarding experience.
1. Don’t be afraid
Let’s start at the beginning. Don’t be afraid of the telephone. Despite telesales blotting the telephone landscape, it remains one of the most powerful weapons in the sales arsenal. Make it your friend and it will repay you in spades.
Using the telephone to nail sales is similar to running a marathon - it’s all about the mindset. Approach the task in a lacklustre way and you’ll have lacklustre results. Train – even physically – to be alert and to be on top form.
3. Mind control
It’s important to remember that the word NO is part of the sales professional’s life. To beat the sting of rejection, focus on success and gaining the right results. Learn to embrace the negative and feed off rejection to make you stronger.
Your first objective is to build a quality list of contacts mined from reliable sources. The internet is a good start but so is the telephone. Your aim is to get the full name, position and direct dial number of the person you want to call. Pose as a customer, call the company and ask for details.
When you have your contact list, take time to organise it into demographic groups. This will help immeasurably when you’re making numerous calls, enabling you to adapt selling techniques that suit each particular group.
6. Making the call
However you verbalise your telephone presentation, the cold call will go through three main phases - Introduction, Question and Short Story and The Close. Let’s call this the three box model.
For each of these three phases, create a basic script and then rehearse it over and over. To get you started, here are some examples:
“Hi, is that Ted?”
“Good. This is John from…we’re a…and the reason for the call is…”
The question and short story:
Before I begin, can I ask you a few questions?” (Have your questions pre-prepared)
“So when’s a good time to meet? Morning or afternoon? I’m available Tuesday at 10 or would Wednesday at 2 be better?”
As sales professionals, we are persuaders which means the words we use are our ammunition. Always use positive words, ask strong open questions and make robust statements. You’ll have these sketched out when you’ve carried out point 6.
The other weapon we have is our vocal inflection. The sound we make. Simply, you want to make the prospect excited about what you’re saying so sound excited, be positive and happy. Always be upbeat, no matter how the call goes.
Now it’s your turn
You’ve done your preparation, got contact details organised, sketched out basic scripts and rehearsed. And rehearse again because not only does practice make you word perfect, you’ve only got one go at getting each telephone call right.
Telephone selling isn’t easy but I hope these eight basic tips will make your telesales experience far less stressful and a great deal more rewarding.
By Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, an international sales training organisation. His motto is “Have fun. Make money”. More sales techniques, advice and tips can be found in Doug Tucker’s book ‘Sales Commando, Unleash Your Potential’. The book gets straight to the heart of issues, complexities and opportunities and encourages and accelerates personal growth and sales success.