The thought of getting on the phone to promote your product or service and try to convince the other person of the value of what you are selling can be a bit discouraging. We all know how negatively telemarketing is seen: no one really wants to have their day interrupted by a call from a stranger trying to foist a product or service on them.
But you should not overlook the power of sales calls; instead, you should master the art of using your phone to get clients, by preparing your calls, involving your prospects and analyzing your calls. Once you do so, not only will sales calls become a natural part of your professional life, and not something you dread having to do, but they will also become a great sales funnel.
In this article, we will give you 11 tips on how to make your sales calls more effective and lucrative. It all starts before you actually grab your phone, with the proper preparation; and it does not end once you hang it up, as doing follow-ups of your conversations will bring great value to your telemarketing strategy.
Being in contact with your prospect on social media in an initial phase can be advantageous for two reasons: first of all, you can analyze their profiles, find out more about what they already have and what they need, and what are their pain points that you can bring up in your call. You can do your homework and give out the image of someone who gets prepared, instead of someone who just calls anyone who might be interested and uses the same script every time.
Secondly, you can start by approaching them there. It is easier to commence a conversation through text, but it is also very easy to ignore. That is why you need to prepare a well thought out message/email: this first step is extremely important to determine if you get a reply or are left on “read”. Your message does not have to be really long or formal, it just needs to be a conversation starter, it has to be compelling enough for your prospect to become interested in what else you have to say.
At the end of your conversation, try and schedule a time for a call, so that you know the person is free. Most people don’t like failing at their commitments, especially after you established some kind of rapport with them, so defining a specific day and time will increase the chances of them picking up the phone and engaging in the conversation. You can even send an invitation to their email so that they will get an alarm a little bit before you are supposed to call. That way, they can’t say they forgot.
And, if you really want to go all the way, you can send an email on the day of the call (if the call is in the evening, send it in the morning, for example), letting them know that you are looking forward to conversing with them at [insert day and hours you both agreed on] and, hopefully, be able to help them whatever problem your product/service can solve. No panic: you don’t have to write and send every single one of these emails, as there are tools you can use to automate the process.
Otherwise, if you go for the cold calling method, one of two situations is bound to happen: either your prospect picks up the phone but is quick to say that they cannot speak at that moment (even if it isn’t necessarily true), or they will simply ignore your call, because they don’t have your number, so they don’t know who is calling.
Telemarketing agencies give their workers a script they can follow on their calls, in order to make it easier for them to conduct the conversation and keep going even if they forget what they are supposed to say. You can – and should – also establish some sort of script for your calls, even if it is just a list of ordered keywords to make sure all your phone calls make sense. In fact, it is a good idea that you write just a rough draft, otherwise you might feel compelled to read it word by word, making your prospect almost feel like they are talking to a robot. It will also help you avoid doing the same old sales call pitch where you basically just list your product’s benefits and hope for a yes. Instead, you will use some keywords you include on your “script” and build each conversation whichever way you want.
Now, if you have done sales calls before, you know that it is impossible to predict how they will go, so you will not always be able to follow the script you define. However, there are situations you can prepare yourself for, like an instant “I am not interested” or a “Why would I use your product when I can use [insert product that can do something similar]?”. A good strategy to get ready for your calls is to write a list of FAQs beforehand and study it so that you don’t just have to read your answers when you are asked something. You should be prepared, but still, sound natural.
It can also happen that you find yourself in a tricky situation during a call and don’t know how to respond on the spot. That is okay and there it is no reason to freak out: it’s a part of doing sales calls. Plus, you’re human, not every single call is going to go perfectly! You should actually be grateful: this bump on the road allowed to be aware of one more Q you can add to your FAQs. Next time you know you will be prepared.
Your mindset should be in the right place, otherwise, as good as your arguments might be, the person on the other side will not believe in what you have to say. If you are calling someone to promote your product or service, it’s because you believe in it and in its value. And if you don’t… maybe you still have some perfecting to do on what you are selling, before you start the promotion work.
The importance of confidence is something we all see in your daily lives: it makes a world of a difference speaking with someone who conducts themselves with determination and poise, or with someone who second doubts themselves and does not transmit a feeling of trust and security.
So, when you feel like you are losing motivation and just want to give up on sales calls, remind yourself why you first invested your time on the product or service. Go back to your go-getter attitude, set a specific goal (a SMART one) and get back on the phone. Being excited about what you are selling and passing that feeling on through the phone is very important.
You know what they say to someone who wants to conquer the world but who is always in a negative mindset, right? Not with that attitude!
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It is obvious that when you are trying to sell your product, you should highlight its benefits and how it can help that person with a problem they have been struggling with. That is absolutely something you should do on each call you make, through a combination of appealing to the prospect’s emotions and hitting them with facts. Make sure your enthusiasm, belief, and pride in your brand come through so that the person on the other side (hopefully) starts feeling the same way. When you speak, put an emphasis on positive words and ensure your tone is never monotonic, as that is boring, and what you are looking for is exciting!
But you might feel tempted to also compare yourself to your competitors and show how much better you are, and when you do that, you end up belittling them, which is something you should never do. If what you are selling really is that good, you will not need to bad-mouth your competitors, as your product/service will shine for itself.
You might also find yourself in situations where it is the prospect that brings up one of your competitors’ names and asks you something about them. Find a way to shift the conversation back to your brand, without speaking ill of anyone.
No one needs bad energies in their life, especially through a sales call. Keep it light and positive!
Doing a call that is 100% a sales pitch is not the way to go. However, you also want the prospect to understand exactly why you are calling. So your goal is to meet in the middle. This can be a hard task to do because you can very easily go from “I am not going to just pitch my product” to “I avoided the sales lingo so much that my prospect is now confused as to what I want”.
The script that we mentioned above can be helpful in keeping you focused on your goal for that call. Knowing your product well, having your script in front of you so you can guide the conversation, while also speaking as if the other person was an acquaintance or even a friend and not just a potential customer, is the perfect recipe for a clear, straight to the point sales call.
Something to avoid is going into to much detail about features or options your business offers, as it might be too much info for the prospect to ta byke in through a call. Instead, focus on two or three key benefits that you believe will be the most convincing for that person (which is something you can try to figure out before the call when you do your homework and look at their profiles online). At the end of the call, let them know you will send them your website where they can see more details or an email with more information.
Instead, use the no to ask more questions and take the conversation into a different direction than your first one. On the FAQs document that we recommended you to prepare, you should have a list of arguments that people might use, and how you can turn that obstacle into an opportunity.
Be careful, however, not to insist too much. If your prospect keeps rejecting you, you end up looking annoying and desperate for sales in their eyes, damaging any possibility of partnerships in the future, which is something you should always, always keep in mind. Just because a prospect is not interested now, it does not mean they will not be interested next month. If you gracefully accept the rejection, you will at least know that the prospect is now aware of your existence. If they ever need a product or service like yours, they will remember you. For this reason, it is crucial to take the end every call, successful or not, on a positive note.
Furthermore, you are wasting time on a person who keeps saying no, when you could be using it to talk to prospects who are actually open to investing in what you are selling.
Don’t just speak the entire time and then ask for a yes or no from the client at the end of your monologue. First of all, try to understand if you and the person are in fact a good fit. Learn more about the prospect, what their needs and challenges are and how your product/service fits into that.
Then, once you understand that you can help the person, involve them on your sales pitch, make them feel like they are a part of the process. By continuously asking for the person’s opinion and input, you will be giving them the power and, if you know how to play your sales cards well, you will direct their train thought into realizing that one of your products or services can actually be valuable to them.
If you call someone, try to convince them of how amazing your product/service is and then, once they buy it, you disappear, that says something about your brand (and it is not something good). So, a while after you make a sale, send an email to your new client, ask them how they are enjoying your product and if they need any help or have any questions. This will show them that you don’t just want to sell: you want to build a relationship with each of your customers and make sure your product is indeed helping them solve the problem you promised to solve.
Showing your prospects that you care about them, and not just about the $$$, is an excellent way of making them regular clients, as well as creating some positive word-of-mouth. People don’t always have the best image of telemarketing, so if you can create a positive sales experience through the phone, it will stand out even more than if it had been through some other sales channel. And that might spark some conversations around your brand!
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It’s sad but it’s true: as prepared as you go into every call and as confident and compelling as you on each of them, not every call will end up in a sale. That is a fact and you should accept it even before you start doing your phone calls. However, a no does not have to be a failure. Instead, it can be an opportunity for you to learn and get better at selling through the phone. After each unsuccessful call, make a small analysis of how the conversation went, where you feel like it started to go down and which queues you could have taken to try and get it back on the right track. If you followed one of the tips we mentioned before and took notes of the call, conducting this analysis will be a lot easier. Otherwise, you will have to do it by memory and it will probably not be as accurate.
Being aware of how many times your calls end with a “no” can also be a great way to increase your motivation because if you do evaluate why it happened and use your conclusions on future calls, you will see your rejection rate decreasing over time.
This one is a golden rule. As much as you want to sell, and as much as you believe that a certain prospect would really benefit from buying your product if they tell you that they don’t want any more calls from you, you need to obey. If you keep insisting, that will just create a negative image of your brand in the person’s mind and any possibilities of future sales to them will be destroyed. How many times have you complained to someone about brand XYZ that would not stop trying to contact you even after you asked them to a million times? That is definitely not the type of word-of-mouth you want to create around your brand. So once a prospect asks you to stop calling, delete them from your contact list.
Not an angry email though! As annoying as it may be, especially if your call was scheduled and the person agreed to that day and hour, when your prospect does not take your call, it is a good idea to send them an email with some relevant information about your product or service and some links to useful articles, ebooks or videos. Kindly let them know that you tried to get in touch at the agreed time but could not reach them and finish the email by asking if they would like to schedule another time for you two to talk but again, don’t insist too much. You don’t want to sound desperate.
Of course, your email might also be ignored and if that happens, you can do one of two things: you either accept that this person is not interested in your product right now or, if you truly believe what you are selling could be of great benefit to them and they just have not realized it yet, you can send another email, maybe with a bit of a different approach. Doing this follow up on an unattended call using different strategies can give you great insight on what works and what does not work when the time comes for you to try and convince a more resistant prospect.
And if you get ignored a third time… well, then it might be time for you to move on to the next person on your contact list. Don’t get discouraged, not everyone is going to become your customer. Otherwise, how easy would it be to be a salesperson?
Preparation, practice, and self-analysis are the three key points for anyone who wants to be able to sell through the phone. Make sure that you know what you want to tell your prospect, you have answers ready for their possible questions/answers, speak confidently and always in a positive manner, analyze what went well and what went wrong, and use that for your future sales calls. Don’t forget that not every call you make will end on a sale, but as long as you allow yourself to learn from that, you will just keep on getting better at doing sales calls. Good luck and let’s get selling!
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