brunette lady on telephone

These continue to be strange times. The UK is opening up again for business. But the landscape looks very different. We’re all having to learn new skills. It’s much harder to get to meet up with customers at the moment if you’re in sales. So there are 2 choices : telephone, or meeting them face-to-face on Zoom, or Teams etc.

Meeting on Zoom will give you a better quality call, but it’s not practical to do all your prospecting this way. So here are some top tips to help you get the most from your calls.   

red haired lady with headset

1. Ensure you’re talking to the right person

You pursue someone only to discover that they’re not the decision-maker! Frustrating. I know I’ve done it! However, don’t discard them. First you’ve got to be sensitive about how you now contact this other decision-maker. Secondly, the person you’re currently dealing with may be a strong influencer. Ideally you want to take them with you. Be polite and respectful and ‘suggest’ that perhaps you should speak to their colleague as well. Be aware that at the moment post-Covid many people’s job roles and responsibilities are changing. Make sure you stay on top of this. 

2. Take your time

One common mistake telemarketers and sales people make is that they rush their calls. Assuming that you’ve got to get as many benefits over to them as soon as you’ve got their attention rarely works. Doing all the talking isn’t the path to success either. So take your time, ask them plenty of relevant questions early on to start rapport building. Asking them how their business has fared over the last few months during lockdown is a useful and easy topic to start with. They more they decide they like you and your approach, the more time they’ll give you. That’s natural and human isn’t it?

Avoid starting your conversation by bombarding them with information about your services, and telling them how good your company is. Despite what you may think, they don’t give a damn. Furthermore, they’ve heard this approach from everyone else who calls them.

3. Plan to succeed

You’ve got your elevator pitch. This is the bit where you explain your services in a couple of lines to your prospect. But make sure you’ve planned your calls. Hopefully you’ve heard the old adage, If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Make sure you’re aware of what you’re trying to achieve on the call at least. And try to get them talking. So some open questions help. Prospects like to talk, so get them chatting. You’ll then find that as they talk it will make your job easier because you’ll know what to say. Then just go back information that’s relevant. Remember you only have a limited time to make an impact, and so keep it relevant. Don’t try to tell them about all 47 different products you sell, in 22 different specifications and sizes, and 13 colours. Nobody’s interested. Honestly!

4. Follow-up quickly

Hopefully you’ll get some ‘send infos’ from your phone activity. People that you’ll need to write to with further information. Make sure you do this rapidly. The sooner the better really, without losing the rhythm of your calling of course. Ensure that as many responses are in template form, so that you’re not writing the whole thing from scratch. Admittedly you might want to personalise the first line and maybe the last line, but that’s about it. The rest should be already written for you. Press Send – then move on.

5. Get them in the loop

You’ve invested some time in them, found out some information, and started to learn more about how much potential they have for you. Make sure you get them in the loop. First – this includes adding a next call date. If you’re about to send them a quote, make sure you follow them up quickly. You won’t lose an order by following up too quickly, but you may well do by following up too slowly. If they are interested in particular products or services that your company offers, add them to the relevant mailing lists. Start courting them now while your conversation is still fresh in their mind.

Doing these 5 things won’t guarantee success of course. But it is certainly likely to increase your chances compared with not doing them!

For this and all sorts of other nuggets of telephone selling advice, talk to us here at To Market. We run telephone skills courses both online (using Zoom) and in-house (when we’re allowed to) for businesses and organisations around the UK. Classroom training is generally with clients in the East and West Midlands : Birmingham, Leicester, Northampton, Derby, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Peterborough. But now that we’re all online, it doesn’t matter where you are! London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol – all fine. Send us your basic information here on our contact page.