Why telephone sales still makes sense and how you can make it work for your business
How to make telephone sales work for your business
“Every sale has 5 basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
Telephone selling isn’t for everyone.
Some businesses see it as an antiquated and ineffective tactic in a world where everything is digitised and anchored into social media.
For some sales people it is “way too old school” and for others it’s way too hard.
For some, it’s uncool and whilst telephone selling may not necessarily be the “vinyl” in a digital world of email, social channels and webinars, if done properly, it works.
Over the last 5 years I have worked with a number of different businesses and organisations across disparate industry sectors who have all successfully embraced telephone selling – here are some effective and pretty obvious tips:
- Be Prepared
There is no shortcut to success in any business development or sales strategy. Far too often I see people working of a random list, or Googling name after name without any direction.
Stopping and starting can kill any momentum and will undoubtedly create a climate of negativity.
It’s the least glamorous part of the game, but you need to get as tight a list together as possible – spend hours or days if you have to, getting a list together that will feed your habit for a few weeks calling.
Sure it is uncool to be even talking about a list but most of the information you will need is out there – it’s just hard to collate.
The more work you put in at this first stage, the more you will succeed.
If telephone selling isn’t your primary job responsibility but you “have to make a few calls”, then you have to prioritise.
Time management is typically the fall guy when sales fail, but it is a failure to anchor time in the diary, which is the biggest crime.
Dedicate a set time of say, 3 single 1 and ½ hour sessions a day.
Then commit to it.
- Rehearse your introduction
Get use to saying the same thing over and over again – even if that means preparing how to introduce yourself and your job title.
Your first job in sales is to be understood – if you can’t do that, it’s game over, yet it is amazing how many people crumble at the very first sentence of the sales call.
If you have to write it down, then write it down, again and again, until it is perfect.
- Give the call context
– who you are
– why you are calling
– what the benefit COULD be
Again, rehearse what you are going to say and what the possible impact might be on the prospect – if you cannot give context then you are not relevant.
- Qualify in or out
What a pain in the arse it is to spend 10 minutes on the phone to someone only to find out that they have no influence, authority or relevance – make sure you qualify quickly that they have some value to your needs.
- Elevator pitch
Once you find out a little more about them, deliver your well-crafted and highly polished elevator pitch. You do have a well-crafted and highly polished elevator pitch don’t you?
Amazing the number of people who haven’t worked out their value proposition.
- “Get of” the phone
Unless you are working for a mobile communications carrier, you will not sell anything on a phone call. Spend longer than 10 minutes talking and you are probably both wasting each others time.
Everything you do is designed to “earn the right” to have another conversation or ideally a meeting – important to remember that when you get into the flow.
Don’t get carried away.
Ask questions so as to learn but get the prospect of the phone and into a scheduled appointment.
Telephone selling isn’t a panacea and will ultimately work best as a blended approach, supported by other digital tactics.
But it does work.
It works really well when supported by a digital marketing strategy that includes social proof, testimonials and credentials.
Email or even direct mail can add value to the sales effort by supporting the telephone call campaign.
One of the key issues is the failure to manage expectations – both executive and managers often expect immediate returns.
It’s important to fully study the sales cycle and create a process that allows for scheduling touch points with the prospect over the coming months.
The idea that telephone sale doesn’t work is misguided – like any other sales process, it works if the process is itself worked.
For more information on how Shift Control can add value to your company and business development team, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org