You may still be limiting your face-to-face calls because of Covid. Prospecting on the telephone is an essential part of selling even without the pandemic. Here are a few strategies to get through and reach your prospect to get the meeting or make the sale.
Get to your prospect when prospecting on the telephone.
They’re called gatekeepers for a reason. Their job is to keep out people who waste decision makers’ time and let in those who can help. Here’s a quick way to be perceived in the latter category while you’re prospecting on the telephone. You ask the operator a time related question. You would say to an operator after lunch, “Hi. This is John with XYZ company. Has Jim made it back from lunch yet or it he still out?”
You learn valuable information when you phrase your need to speak with Jim with that question. The operator could tell you he’s not in and works remotely. You might learn he takes a late lunch so you could call him at noon next time and catch him in his office. The question also makes it difficult for an operator to ask you, “What is this in relation to?” Your phrasing sounds like you might know Jim so the operator has less reason to ask you for a reason for your call. Jim might be expecting a call from you.
Be clear immediately when prospecting on the telephone.
There is nothing worse than an inside salesperson reaching a person and then immediately launching into their sales pitch. You are more likely to hear a click if that’s your prospecting strategy on the telephone. Instead, start to think like your prospect. What does he want to know quickly when he picks up the phone? He wants to know who you are and what you can do for him.
Notice, I did not say he’s interested in what you do. Why? Each second on the phone is time your prospect could be doing something else. All he needs to know is if there’s a possibility of your work impacting him and his job. It doesn’t create any interest if you identify yourself by saying, “I sell ______.” He will hear that statement and think, “I already have that. I don’t need it.”
What you do is what your work or products do for your customers by reducing costs, adding revenue or avoiding costs. Begin by saying your prospect’s name when you reach him. When a prospect hears his name he will pay attention because when people hear their name they are more likely to focus. Then simply state your company name if it’s a well-known name. Avoid saying a company name that’s not well known. Instead, state who you work with and the results you achieve. You could say, “Hi Jim. This is Jane Doe. I work with (His job title) to reduce maintenance costs. I’ve recently lowered costs by $20,000 though product consolidation, training and extending drain intervals. I thought my work would be a fit for your company.”
Be ready with your questions.
Your job in prospecting is to start the conversation. Begin with a statement that demonstrates you understand your prospect’s business. Do your research before the call to identify issues in their industry, their company or area. Continue with, “I understand other construction operations like yours are experiencing X. Is that something you’re experiencing?”
You have now started a dialogue with your prospect. He most likely will answer your questions when he believes you know enough about his business to help him.
There’s no better time saver than selling on the telephone. Why not consider the telephone the next time you have to drive 4 hours to find a prospect?