I believe that the phone is the single most powerful tool in making a personal and impactful connection with your potential clients outside of being face to face.
If you caught my previous blog post I was recounting to you the worst sales call I had ever encountered and that got me thinking. I wrote about the key elements that the person did wrong in the 32 seconds that the call lasted. In the next few posts I will be discussing how a competent telephone sales coach could improve on these.
Let’s talk about the first one on the list; the lady was so bored and uninspired that it actually felt that she had the ability to suck my life away down the phone line. If I had stayed on the phone any longer I most definitely would have been pulled in to her swirling vortex of apathy.
The first thing I tell sales people is that no one is sitting by the phone waiting for you to call. Even if they are doing nothing it is their choice to do nothing and therefore you are interrupting so you had better make their day better or more interesting in some way. Please understand that your attitude will convey what you think of the company and how happy you are to be there. If you are not happy to be there then why would anyone else be interested in talking with you or doing business your company?
I don’t want you to be like an over excited Chihuahua or an early morning TV preacher. Be interesting, upbeat, happy to be calling, articulate, sound like you know what you are talking about and you can offer some value to the person you are calling.
All of this can be projected in your opening statement and your tone of voice.
Opening statement failures:
- Hi Matthew, it’s John here from ABC Widget Company. Did you know that we are the best widget company in the world? – What is the client thinking? Sales call, RUN!!! and who gives a toss?
- Hi Matthew, it’s John from ABC Widget Company. Do you have 2 minutes to talk? What is the client thinking? It’s never going to be 2 minutes. Sales Call, RUN!!! and why would I interrupt my day to talk to this person?
- Hi Matthew, it’s John from ABC Widget Company. I am just calling to check in. What is the client thinking? You are not my teenage daughter and you do not need to check in. So this line is so useless.
I could go on with a dozen more examples of a sales persons focused bull but the only person that the prospect is interested in him/herself. They are not selfish, just human. Think about this – If there is a group photo and you are in it who do you look for first? YOU. So your opening statement needs to be based around the person you are calling and how you can decrease pain and increase pleasure.
Try this template:
Hi Matthew, it’s John here from ABD Widget Company. I’m calling because I have an idea on how we may be able to decrease your widget burn out rate by 30%, which will of course decrease your costs and raise your company’s productivity levels and I wanted to see if you may be interested to have a quick chat about that.
So do you see what I just did there?
- I didn’t ask how they were because in this situation I don’t know them and the prospect is not any of my business. On follow up calls you can ask but for now you are focused.
- I said we may be able to help not we can because as far as the prospect is concerned I don’t really know their business. You can also start by saying that “we have helped a few other companies in your sector increase, decrease, avoid, eliminate, etc and I am calling to see if that solution or one like it could work for you as well”.
- I didn’t patronise by backing the prospect in to a corner by saying “You would be interested in that right?” Forcing them to say yes.
The idea on the first call is to let the person on the other end of the line know that you are a professional, you are happy to be working for the company because you can help them.
Have a play with your opening statements – Oh and by the way your voicemail should be very similar to this. They may not call back but when you call again they may take the call because you are focused on helping them.
The Telephone Sales Coach