Making the call – its all in the preparation
Despite the allure of confidence radiating from many sales professionals, a large percentage actually suffer from pre-call anxiety, especially those new to the industry or company. The potential for rejection and failure manifests itself before the caller picks up the phone, which will result in dead leads.
In order to combat this, Research Runner have come up with some useful tips, providing your sales teams with vital tools needed to handle those curve balls and to cement sales appointments.
Research Runner suggests that preparation is key, you can never be too prepared. You may be the most experienced of sales person, but there will always be that one potential lead, that throws in a curve ball, that question that has never been asked, or one that you do not know the answer to.
The debate around sales scripts is ongoing and many believe that it disrupts the natural flow of conversation and prevents callers thinking outside the box. This is true, but scripts are not meant to be read from, they should be used as a prompt or to help new starters understand what questions they should be asking.
Once the caller is more confident, they should not need a script and would have found a way which works for them as individuals. Scripts can come in the form of an algorithm, which allows the caller to follow a flow of conversation clearly.
Here are some points to consider when preparing to make that call.
Research, research, research
Research Runner cannot emphasise enough the importance of researching a company before you call. You need to know who, what, where, when, how and why. We are fortunate enough to have access to media and marketing material. A quick glance on the internet can give you an entire company overview, from turnover, where they operate, who the directors are, who their clients are and how they work. LinkedIn can help discover who you need to speak to and even how large the company is.
Know your stuff, understand what it is your actually offering and how your company can offer a service that no one else can. Knowledge is power and confidence in your product. The more you know, the more you can offer and combat any negativity.
Know your objectives
A with any sales call, the objective is to seal a deal, that’s the aim. What are you selling and why would it benefit the buyer? Ultimately you need to grab the buyers attention, so how do you stand out?
Marketing and sales go hand in hand, they both need to promote the company and show it off in its best light. Marketing is more visual and can be easier to get the message across. A sales pitch and a voice on the other end of the phone can be more difficult and trust can play a huge part in rejection. Always have access to current marketing material and offer to email them with the details. Keep your marketing team up to date with and comments or suggestions needed to keep material fresh.
If you go into a call thinking that the buyer will not buy, then you are setting yourself up for failure. It will show in your approach and your voice. You will usually know which leads are good prospects and those that may require a bit more persuading, but a good sales person will embrace the challenge.
Every call is a potential lead, it may just be that the buyer has never heard of your service or has had a bad experience, it is up to you to gain their confidence. Ask if you can set up a meeting to discuss the possibilities of working together with no obligation.
Throwing a curve ball, be prepared
Most if not every call will require the seller to answer questions. Most of which are general queries, such as how much? How does it work? What if I want to cancel? However there are always the more difficult questions that may crop up, such as what makes you different? How can I trust you? I have already had a quote from another company? You don’t offer the service that I am looking for?.
The truth is that all questions can be answered. This also boils down to doing your research, knowing what you are selling and being confident, but not cocky, about your product. If you do not offer the service they require, then ask them for a meeting to discuss what it is they really need and consider the possibilities of tailoring your service to the client. If they have a quote, again ask for a meeting and try to offer a better quote than the opposition. If you really do not know the answer, there is no shame in asking them to hold on whilst you find out or offering to call them back with the details, its shows that you want them and that you will go above and beyond.
Many buyers will ask where you got their details from, especially when cold calling. The best way to combat this is to make them feel special. You will often know who you want to target. A good way of answering this would be to say that “Your name was referred to me as the person who could make a decision on……… and that you may be interested in considering our services”
Never cut short a conversation if you feel it is not going the way you want. Build on the buyers objections, gain their trust. This doesn’t mean you need to be too pushy, this can put them off.
Ask them for business
Don’t be afraid to ask them, it shows that they are needed. Ask them for an appointment, can you get a date in the diary, you can help grow their business.
Record and reflect
Always record your conversations, was it successful?, who you spoke to?, what they need?, why they didn’t require your services? etc. Most sales teams will have the use of system, where they can update each contact. Saleforce for instance allows the user, to record details and keep other members of the sales team updated. The last thing clients want is to be called over and over again by different people, so keeping call records up to date is vital.
Julian Haste, MD of Research Runner has years sales experience, his company Research Runner offers guidance and advice to all companies and sales teams that are looking to increase their pipelines and improve productivity. Please look at our website www.research-runner.com and contact us for a quote.
11/01/2018 – Heidi Bryant