How is the pandemic impacting your business? Think of how many people are not leaving their office because of the pandemic. Where are they? They’re by their telephone. You may think that email is your best bet to reach prospects. I think the telephone is better even with caller ID. Barriers should not make you afraid to use the telephone to sell.
Be prepared when someone does answer the phone.
Have your introduction (your name and what you do) ready. You should be clear about who you are and describe what you do as a benefit your prospect is interested in. Just make it short. The objective of your introduction is to convince your prospect that you are worth the time to take the phone call and engage with you.
Next ask a question to engage your prospect quickly. This question must be open ended (can’t be answered by yes or no or just a few words) and be relevant for his business. When you ask a question about an area that is particular to that prospect’s business or industry you also demonstrate your credibility. Your credibility will make the prospect want to listen to more of the conversation and answer your question. That starts the conversation.
Learn from the conversation.
You are listening to hear areas where your products or services are a fit for that prospects business. Let’s say you have a product that improves customer satisfaction scores (CSAT scores.) Your introduction includes the information that you work with CEOs to improve their CSAT scores. You confirm that the prospect works in that area. Then you can ask in a conversational voice, “Ok. What are you doing now to improve your CSAT scores?”
Your job is to listen intently once the conversation begins. You are listening for areas where the prospect is not getting the results he wants, is looking to improve something, or recognizes a need for something new. What you could reply after listening to the prospect speak is, “How is that working for you?” You could ask, “Was it difficult for you to do?” You could ask, “How does that impact other areas of your business?” when you hear a customer issue.
Notice, that I haven’t mention that you speak about your product or service… yet. You have to hear at least 2 or 3 prospect needs before you can even consider talking about what you have to offer.
Have answers ready for push back.
What makes so many telephone calls unsuccessful, in addition to the lack of an effective introduction, is the lack of preparation of anticipated pushback. Certainly, while you are planning your call, you can think about the prospect’s possible responses to, “What are you doing now to improve your CSAT scores?” Think of the responses that he could make to terminate the phone call as quickly as possible.
You must have a prepared non-threatening response to a prospect who says, “I’m not interested at this time.” You might reply, “Sounds as if you’ve just done a review of your agents’ productivity.” You then listen for a response of “yes, that’s correct” or “No, that’s not correct.” To the former, you reply, “And what did you find?” To the latter, you reply, “Oh, so you did something else?”
Your tone of voice, voice pace and volume are especially important. Too fast and you sound desperate. Too loud and you sound too pushy. The point is that you must anticipate what you might hear from a prospect and have a relevant reply that could warrant his engagement. You must prevent his tendency to immediately hang up the phone.
That’s not to say that each time you will turn around a busy prospect who answers his phone. You certainly won’t engage a prospect when you sound unprepared and uninformed. At least when you are prepared you might have the opportunity to create a dialogue with a prospect that ultimately leads to the next meeting or appointment.