April 23, 2009

2 Tips to make your calls more effective

Today I was role playing for a telemarketing campaign to C level executives in major UK financial institutions. Last quarter’s message has run its course and it was time for a new message - one that is more in keeping with the present market environment.

We are now at version 4 of the new telemarketing script (actually, we prefer to use the term conversation guide) and with a bit of minor tweaking and changing should be ready to go.  

Just as the role play concluded with the Sales Director and Sales Manager listening in, two important points were raised that although simple can contribute in an important way to success:

1. Ask ‘do you have a minute, is now a good time?’

Before launching into the message don’t forget to ask the person on the other end ‘do you have a minute, is now a good time?’  Now in telemarketing school they say never ask this question, because it makes it easy for the customer to say no and as a consequence will multiply your workload in terms of call backs. 

However, in the world of executive to executive selling it is important to clearly differentiate yourself from the stereotypical ‘I got you’ seller who is pushy and interrupts.   What better way than to ask straight up ‘it will take two, or three minutes, is now a good time?’

The reality is that by asking the question you are likely to be asked to call another time in probably 33% of the cases.  However, this extra workload is more than justified because in addition to making your look more professional, calling back at a more convenient time will also make your call more effective.  Quite simply it means that the person on the other end of the line will be better able to listen and appreciate what you have to say. 

2. Make sure you have some good questions to ask.  

The objective of the call may be to get an appointment, but the effectiveness of that appointment often depends on what information you have been able to gather in advance regarding the needs and priorities of the prospect.

Now, there are two factors at play in terms of why most telemarketing calls are more of a monologue than a dialogue.  The first is that it is difficult to get the potential customer to open up or say much over the phone.  The second is that the person making the call needs to have sufficient knowledge, confidence and training to be able to ask questions and understand the answers.  However, at a very minimum the salesperson should know before calling on the customer a little about what areas the customer is particularly interested in, what he or she would like to get out of the meeting and whether anybody else in the organization should be there.

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