Making a phone call to a prospect can be a daunting task. Follow these steps and tips to completely nail the job!1. Have a plan
This is a multi-faceted step. First off, why are you making this call, and what are you hoping to achieve? And second, what will you say to achieve that goal? Prepare for the second by doing the following:
- Make a script of how the first ten seconds of the conversation will go. Prospects generally decide within the first seven seconds if they’ll hang up or not, so this is important.
- Come up with questions you may want to ask your prospect to achieve your goal.
- Predict questions that may arise, and the best way to answer them. This will leave you cool, calm and collected when they do come up.
- Prepare general talking points. Since you researched the prospect, you can reference a blog post of theirs or a news piece about them that you’ve come across.
Note: This will be most effective if you have done research beforehand.
Listen, we’re not naive. We know sales calls can be annoying. Be as un-annoying as possible with these tips:
- Sound cheerful but not fake. Most people are not naturally ecstatic over cars, computer software, or whatever else you may be selling, and you risk sounding phony if you force yourself to sound over-enthusiastic. Instead, keep a smile on your face as you speak in a normal, friendly tone. It will carry over and the person on the other line will sense it. Also, although you are on the phone, speak with your hands. This way, you’ll sound naturally animated.
- Be authoritative about your offer while remaining inquisitive about how you can help. Don’t sound apologetic for calling- after all, you’re the one doing the favor here, right? But do ask questions to engage your prospect.
- Match your prospect’s tone. Does he or she talk super fast, or snailish slow? Don’t start copying their voice, but subtly mimicking someone’s tone can increase how comfortable they feel speaking to you.
- Be personable and human! You shouldn’t sound as if you’re reading off of a script. Throw in a joke or two to really become more relatable.
The jury is out over the best timing to make sales calls. Research says that calling in the middle of the week on Wednesday or Thursday sees results, as does calling between 11 and 12, or 4 and 5 o’clock ( right when people are wrapping up before lunch or the end of the day). However, some say that by calling before or after regular business hours, you’re more likely to get in touch with a decision-maker this way. But since you most likely be making more than one call anyway (see step #5), the good news is that you get to do both!
Another note on timing: keep the call short and sweet. Even if the prospect seems interested, they probably have other things to do. This leads to the next step:
5. Follow up
If the lead expresses interest, ask them right then and there to schedule a meeting. If they’re not ready for that yet, send them a follow-up email thanking them for their time and with further steps you can help them out with.
And if they didn’t answer the phone? First step is to leave that voicemail. If you can add in something humorous to make them really stop and listen, even better. Research shows that a salesperson should make at least six calls to a prospect in order to be succesful. So if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try….. well, you get the idea. And just like the email you would have sent if they did answer the phone, send one after you leave a voicemail. This gives them a second chance to connect, if they wish.
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