On International Telephone Day, it’s time to pause our emailing, social media, web conferences and smartphone app downloads for a second and think about how long distance communication began – with the telephone. And whilst we’re at it, let’s think about how well we use the telephone for that most notorious task – telephone sales.
Salespeople today often balk at the thought of the infamous cold calling. Traditionally large corporations employed large teams of people with a regimented script who often called at inconvenient times and showed zero personality or empathy, but things have changed. Telephone sales remain a large part of generating sales appointments and sales around the world, and as such the approach has had to change in order to be effective.
So how effective are your telephone sales? Need some help in improving the results? We’ve got some great tips to share:
- Prepare yourself before a call
Before you make any business call, but particularly a cold sales call you should prepare yourself by thinking about the reason you’re making this call. What do you want to achieve from the call? Do you want to get the buyer interested in your product? Do you want to create a sense of urgency so that they will not be able to resist taking the next step? How do you want the person at the end of the phone to feel, and what do you want them to do?
Write down the questions that you want to ask. Prepare short summaries of the questions you think the call recipient is likely to ask you. It’s a good idea to practice a call using a voice recorder to hear how you come across.
- Convey the right attitude
A good sales caller is confident and comfortable sharing their views. It helps to be passionate about what you’re talking about, as you will then be enthusiastic when discussing it, and the person at the end of the phone is more likely to give you the time to listen.
You should also be a good listener and respond to the cues given by the other person. Tell them what they’re asking, don’t just push your agenda or follow a script. Of course, it also helps a lot to have a sense of humour.
To really win people over try talking with a smile on your face. Maybe no one can see you, but this automatically changes the tone of your voice and makes it sound more relaxed and reassuring to the listener.
When it comes to your pitch, keep what you’re saying simple. Don’t confuse the caller with complexity or you’re likely to put them off. Choosing descriptive words that create a picture for the listener while you speak is also a great way to engage their attention.
- Be respectful, but not apologetic
Contrary to what you may think, apologizing for making a call does not put you in a good light. It makes you look like you’ve done something wrong. Instead use the person’s name, if you know it, and act as if the call will be doing the listener a favour, without being arrogant.
A successful sales call engages the listener’s attention despite lacking the advantages of face-to-face communication. To do this you need to speak into the phone just as you would face-to-face, this means speaking with pauses, even when you’re negotiating – and don’t get sucked into a quick negotiation just because you’re on the telephone.
If you need more help with the sales process and an extra pair of hands to make those cold calls, our team of experienced PAs will be more than happy to help at any stage, please just ask us to find out more.