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3 Strategies for Effectively Developing the Right Calling Approach

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 23, 2017 8:19:00 PM

Whether you’re new to sales, or an experienced pro, developing the right approach to making sales calls is a strategic advantage.
 
As a salesperson, oftentimes the first impression you make is over the phone. Whether that’s talking to a new prospect, building a client relationship, or maintaining contact with long term clients.
 
Developing an effective calling approach and phone persona is essential to your sales success. But how can you develop an approach that will consistently drive results?
 
Consider these 3 strategies as you develop, refine, and optimize your calling approach: 
 
sales call approach ideas


1. Personalize Your Message

Think about who you are calling and why you are calling them before you pick up the phone.

First, we must consider what kind of leads are you calling and what’s the right strategy for each?

For example, let’s say you were just assigned a new lead. This lead came in through the website as an inbound lead who downloaded your newest eBook. What’s the approach for this type of lead?

To start, we must do our best to research who the person is, what company they work for, why they might be interested in the eBook, and whether they’ve downloaded any other resources from your website.

Why are these things important?

Because each piece of information helps you paint a picture of who you are calling. The more you know about the company, the person, or the industry in general will set you up for success because you’ll be able to tailor your message by saying something that resonates with the lead.

In this inbound lead example, you could personalize your message in a simple, yet logical way by helping them identify the key takeaways from the eBook they just downloaded and offer ideas about how the information applies to their job, company, or industry.

Taking this approach helps you position yourself as an expert, presents your company/offering in a positive light, and lets you take the role of the helpful salesperson who is educating them on new information and solutions.

 

2. Build Your Sales Story

 Identifying the right approach for each type of lead is only part of the game. The next step is to build your value proposition by crafting a compelling sales story.

We often think that facts and figures are what motivate people to take action. But the truth? Facts and figures aren’t nearly as effective as telling a great story.

Let’s say you’ve got a prospect on the line and they want to learn more about your solution. Instead of rattling off numbers that will mean nothing to them, consider walking them through the story of how you’ve helped other companies, maybe even mention a competitor of theirs, and help them visualize how your product and/or service delivered results for that company.

For example, you could say something like: “We’ve had a lot of success with companies like yours who have experienced some of the same challenges you may be facing, so I’d like to learn more about what you’re doing, tell you how we’ve been implementing solutions for businesses like yours, and see if there’s a match.”

You’re not only going to get their attention fast, they’re going to want to know how they did it, when they started doing it, how far behind they are, and what they need to do to catch up.

 

3. Understand the Rhythm of the Call

Listening is the key to a great conversation. So when we are speaking with prospects and clients over the phone, we must listen to the rhythm of the call and make certain decisions based on the rhythm.

If you ask a question and the other person responds as soon as you finish speaking, this probably means they’re tuned in. On the other hand, if there’s a long gap and their response doesn’t really relate to the question you asked, they’re probably not connected to the conversation.

As sales professionals, our goal is to ask 2nd level questions in order to create a more substantial conversation. 2nd level questions, asked in the right context, encourage the customer to share relevant information needed to understand their true interest in our business solution as well as their motivation to help their organization acquire it.

This is the type of conversation when the customer reacts to the salesperson’s interest and capabilities by sharing relevant information about their background, biases, plans as well as their power, influence, and motivation to buy.

The best way to help them make more sales is to maximize their time with people most likely to buy and minimize their investment in time with the rest.  At the same time, sellers need to dig out opportunities that are not immediately obvious but lying just below the surface waiting for a skilled salesperson to uncover and close.

 

Conclusion

Remember these 3 strategies the next time you’re ready to pick up the phone, and you’ll be on your way to building a connection with your prospects and clients while creating a more open sales dialogue.

manager_HowMuchCoachingShouldIBeDoing_Vlog.png

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated.

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Topics: sales, tips, selling, sellers, prospecting, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, digital media training, cold calling, call, small business, improving, marketing, strategy, phone

How To Present a Proposal Over the Phone (Part 2)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Jun 4, 2013 7:30:00 AM

3. How are you going to open up the meeting? sales_meeting_present_business Now, there’s no one right way to open every meeting.  But you should think about it.  You need to make a decision.  But I’ll tell you what works for me.  In the friendliest way possible, early on in every proposal meeting, I say something along the lines of,You know, thank you Mr. Prospect or Ms. Prospect for meeting with me today.  I’m hoping that we’ll be able to put together a deal.  And if we do, do you think my services would be implemented right away?”  That question will give you an answer to something that you’re eager to know, and it will be extremely helpful. You might be hesitant in asking this question or asking it in this manner. No worries! Translate it into a way that you can ask it.  Or if that’s not the right question for you, find the right question for yourself.  But keep asking yourself, “Is this always the best way to go?” and adjust the opening with each meeting. Customize the solution for your prospect.

fotolia_612132024. Defend why your proposal is right.  Many times, I listen to salespeople on the phone, and I can hear them explain the pricing. But they don’t say what I really want them to say from the prospect’s perspective, which is a very reassuring message. 

Hello Prospect, you know, after we spoke, I went back and looked at my notes.  I talked to my staff.  I went to our service team.  I did a little research and a little brainstorming.  And as a team, we came up with a plan that I think you’re really going to like.  It really addresses the issues that you’ve pointed out and that you’ve told me about. I know these were important to you.  Anyway, that’s how we created this proposal.”  Now maybe that’s not exactly the way you would say it.  But something along those lines would be reassuring.  After all, people react and reciprocate.  If you act with enthusiasm, the prospect is more likely going to be enthusiastic also.  If you act like you don’t care, then why should your prospect?

Let’s always remind ourselves of these four things we should do when we’re presenting a proposal over the phone: 

 

1. We’re verifying information. 

Involve the customer in developing your solution. Show someone your sale in writing before the proposal meeting whenever possible. Showing an outline of the proposal in advance gives you a chance to react and adjust.

 

2. We’re strategizing how far in advance to send the proposal. 

There is no one magical time in which all proposals that are sent over are magically approved.  Decide whether or not the proposal is powerful enough to speak for itself or make sure that you set aside the time to go through it with the prospect.

 

3. We’re deciding how we will open. 

Tailor a friendly opening and be prepared to ask what you need to ask to find out what you must.

 

4. And we’re preparing ourselves to defend why our proposal is right.

Are you giving your prospect reassurance? Have you completed thorough research, and are you prepared to give evidence to your claim?

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

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Topics: present, selling, sellers, sales process, dealing with a customer, sales tips, sales training, call, sales strategy, presentation

How To Present A Proposal Over the Phone

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Jun 3, 2013 10:52:00 AM

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Today I want talk to you about presenting your proposal when you’re selling over the phone.  There are four: 


1. Verifying information. things to consider:

2. Strategizing how far in advance to send the proposal. 

3. Deciding how you will open. 

4. Preparing to defend why your proposal is right. 

 

1.  Let’s start with verifying information. 

What’s a proposal?  You write something on a digital piece of paper.  If you wrote “the right thing,” the customer will buy and if you didn’t, the customer won’t buy.  And so, there’s a lot riding on your writing the right thing.  So make sure you’re incorporating the customer in that process.  If your customer is not in some way involved in advising you as to what the right budget level is, the offer, and the timing of the delivery as well as any other specs that are important to know, then you’re guessing.  And the customer is less likely to buy. 

You don’t want to guess-sell.  You want to know for sure.  There’s a lot riding on this.  And by verifying information first, you could dramatically improve your proposal-to-closing ratio.  How do you start? Show an outline, one or two pages that explain, “Here’s what I’m thinking of pricing, selling, and delivering and all those specs” in advance of any proposal meeting.  By doing so, you are giving yourself a chance to obtain a reaction and adjust the proposal if need be.  Also, it’s important to show somebody your sale in writing before the proposal, whenever possible.  If the first time that the customer sees your sale in writing is the proposal, it tends not to reflect as well on you than if you had showed some kind of "friendlier" of document beforehand. 

2. Consider is how far in advance of the meeting to send the proposal. 

I would say that there are times that it makes sense not to let your client see the proposal until you’re going to review  it together.  This is because many times proposals are written in such a way that a customer can get concerned, confused, or thrown off.  Or the document is so big that the customer scans it very briefly and misses everything.  And so by going through it with the customer, we’re sure that we’re capturing every point.  If you send the proposal far in advance, they may have a chance to read it.  And there may be some benefit to that.  And so my advice to you is if you’re going to send it in advance, it should be a decision that you made (in your mind, you felt that the proposal could sell itself). However, if you don’t believe that the proposal itself is extremely well-written and a powerful communicator, my advice to you is this:

Go over the points in your proposal together with your client so that there’s a very small gap there.

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

 

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Topics: selling, sellers, customer's perspective, dealing with a customer, sales tips, sales training, call, sales strategy, buying process, deals, presentation, reaction

Challenge Accepted: Conquering the Sales Callback

Posted by Molly Depasquale on May 15, 2013 9:47:00 AM

When trying to set up an initial meeting with a prospect, you should both call and email the person. Combining these two approaches will make your message a more memorable as well as easy to respond to for both email and voicemail people. The key to this approach is to use the same wording for both messages and send them at the same time. Both the voicemail and the email should include your name, phone number, company name, reason you are calling, and your phone number (again).

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1. "Reason for Contact" Statements

Your "reason for contact" statement should be the shortest possible description of your lead source. For example, if you received a referral from Roger Smith, your reason statement should be something like "regarding Roger" or "regarding Roger Smith." If you acquired the lead from a trade show, the reason statement should be "regarding the trade show;" if you met at a networking event, the reason would be "regarding last week's conversation."

2. Keeping It Simple and the Same 

According to studies where sellers carefully tracked their ratios, shortening the message to a single word or a short phrase seems to work the best. For example, if you are selling your product or service to an insurance company, you would leave a message that says "Re: Met Life." When they call back (and they will), you can finish the thought by saying "We've done a lot of work with insurance companies like Met Life, and I thought we should get together to discuss." Again, the key is to use the same wording for both messages and send them at the same time.

merge_combine_mix_connect

3. Getting the Call 

Do not type your entire sales pitch or toss your manifesto in the emails you send to fresh prospects (avoid the "See the attached 400 page document on why we are so great"). Emails should read more like reminder notes you leave for your spouse or roommate. The business version of "please don't forget milk today" might be something like "confirming our appointment for Tuesday." You might even leave out their name and all niceties (such as "greetings"). Just get to the point. In this age of ubiquitous iPhones, Droids, Blackberries, smartphones, and iPads, your message recipient will appreciate this more as they walk and read.

Common sense tells us that those who read or listen to our complete messages are much more likely to respond to us!

Action Steps 


To improve your sales success, focus on:

• A Reason for Contact
• Keeping it Simple and the Same
• Getting the Call

 

Question: What was the best callback you've ever received? How did the conversation flow?

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: calling, reason for contact, emails, tips, prospecting, value, call, improving, strategy, user engagement

Isn't It "Obvious?" (Part 1)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 19, 2013 7:26:00 AM

There are four reasons why I want you to ask the "obvious" question during an interview with a customer. The reasons are as follows:

1. Great stories.

2. The right questions.

3. Their perspective

4. Explanations.

What's obvious to one person can be a source of oblivion to another.  This is applicable to when a salesman meets a customer. Why?  Because the salesperson works for one kind of a company, and the customer works for a completely different kind of a company in a completely different kind of a role.  And so the two of them are not likely to agree on what "obvious" may be.

They worry about asking an obvious question – as if there was a death penalty associated with it.  I’ve spoken to 30,000 salespeople and none of them have ever told me that they were kicked out of an office for asking a too obvious of a question.  But what sometimes happens – and many times does in fact happen – is that the obvious question triggers a story.  So it’s not the question; it’s the story answer it produces.  That’s the key concept.  So what question is going to get you onto the very subject about how important solving their issues are and how you can help? How are you going to get into that conversation if you’re not talking about that subject?  How are you going to get there if you’re not talking about some “obvious” question?

Ask the right questions. You need to think about the world from the point-of-view of the person you’re meeting with.  Imagine being in that kind of a company which makes money in a certain way and has organized itself with a certain go-to-market strategy. It is constructed in a unique way and has a certain kind of market share and they do things in a particular way.  What questions can you ask will really get to the heart of the matter? 

Really get into the customer’s shoes, so to speak, and imagine the world from where they are and the only way to do that is to research.  But once the thorough research is completed, you’re now able to ask the most important question. It’s as if you’ll be the "mirror" organization and this client was meeting his counterpart (you) and the two of you now completely understand each other. How can you solve your client's challenges?  What is that one problem that is the trickiest  of them all? 

This is the kind of question that you want to be asking: How is the client solving those "obvious" issues?

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: training, tips, selling, sellers, sales process, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, client, call, strategy, reaction, coaching

4 To Dos to Improve Sales Everyday

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 17, 2013 8:30:00 AM

Everyone who’s serious about accomplishing their goals will find a way to inspect their work to ensure that they’re making progress.  You should too.

To Do List:

1. Do a daily pipeline check.

2. Inspect your calendar.

3. Check your KPIs.

4. Keep testing new strategies.

1. There is nothing more sobering than either beginning or ending the day by looking at your pipeline.  Oh, my goodness!  Although you’re very busy, you may realize something new and say to yourself, “What am I so busy doing again?  Because - whatever it is - it’s not changing my pipeline.”  Your income is going to come out of that pipeline.  Everything you do needs to be coming out of that pipeline.  You want to make sure that you’re doing the things that can actually shape and improve the look of that pipeline. 

 

 desk_calendar_month_800_clr_38922. Inspect your calendar. If you look at your pipeline first, you will bereminded  of certain call opportunities. It will help you make decisions about calling or emailing some folks and the  decisions you make will impact your time.  Now, go look at that calendar on your desk or phone and ask yourself, “Where’s my time going? Am I spending my time in a way that makes the most sense, given what my pipeline looks like and what it needs to look like?"  Align your activities with your goals.  The single biggest mistake that people make is being unable to focus on the activities that will bring them closer to their goals on a daily basis. Don't make that mistake!

 

3. Track your KPIs.  In sales, KPIs are the number of dials, completed calls, visits, and sales.  What does each one mean? Track the dials that lead to first meetings, introduction meetings, meetings that begin a new sale either with an existing customer or a new one. Don’t count the number of times that you simply pick up the phone and call someone.   Track the number of completed calls or the number of times you actually speak on the phone with that person.  Track the number of First Appointments, or first meetings that initiate the sales process on the verge of a new opportunity, and track how many of the First Appointments are closed.

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After a while, you will begin to learn your ratios and find a pattern.

How many dials does it take to get a completed call?

How many completed calls are required to get an appointment?

How many appointments result in a certain number of sales?

What is the average value of each sale? 

When you start to work with those ratios and develop new strategies, you will gain an understanding of what you’re really accomplishing. If you don’t, you will inevitably do the wrong things because how else will you know if you’re generating the right number of leads or allocating the right amount of time unless you know the number of dials it takes to get a sale?  Track your KPIs all the time. When you track things, you’re subconsciously driving yourself towards an improvement in behavior. 

 

4. Keep testing new strategies.  It’s very common to conclude that the best way to drive from point A to B is this one route and to do everything in a pattern that utilizes that proven method. Yes, indeed consistency is great. However, how do you know that there isn’t another smoother or more efficient way to double up on productivity?  Unless you’re testing out new strategies all the time, you won’t.   

 

 

 At all times, think about:

“What’s another way that I could get old leads to come back and talk to me?” 

“What’s a way that I could get sales that had stalled out to come back?”

“How do I get sales that were this big to be a little bit bigger?”

share_of_voice_word_cloud

 

 You will begin to develop a certain amount of energy derived from this type of creative thinking and before you know it, you’re suggesting things and doing things, spending time in a way that you hadn’t done before.  Your focus will be on making these newly found strategies work for you. The energy associated with testing these strategies is something that can’t be measured, but it is the single most common factor evident in all great sales people.

 

So there are four things you want to be doing:  check your daily pipeline, inspect your calendars, track your KPIs, and test out new strategies all the time.

 

New Call-to-Action

 

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

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Topics: training, tips, sellers, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, call, business, strategy, A to B, optimize, dials, KPIs, First Appointment, Completed calls

Can I Have an Appointment for Wednesday at 1?

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 10, 2013 9:30:00 AM

The FOUR MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW about handling objections when you're prospecting over the phone are:

  1. Advocate the advantage, not the argument
  2. Interest and curiosity
  3. Customize
  4. Passion

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Let's start with 1. An advantage, not an argument. Salespeople can face many struggles when they are on the phone trying to get an appointment. Often times, the reason they struggle is because they’re looking for an argument, and at first, they may not even be aware that they're doing this.

Trying to find a flaw or hole in the other person's logic is looking to start an argument and win. This win-at-all-costs mindset is very helpful for self-motivation and perseverance purposes, but when you’re trying to make an appointment, be careful not to let this aggressive front overwhelm your prospect.

Never say things like:

"Well, how much do you really like your copier vendor?  Do you think your vendor’s really giving you the value that you’re paying for?  Let me put a shadow of doubt in there."

You really dont want this call to be about an argument.

If you had said to yourself, before you even picked up the phone, "Okay, what is it that our product really does well?" then you would know exactly what you DO want this call to be about. Whatever it is that your product, service, or solution, excels in doing, that's precisely what you want this conversation to be focused on.

 

 And here’s a secret that I want to share with you: You’ve got to believe in that value to make a good conversation happen.

You've got to believe, deep down in your gut, that your products and services really do help your best customers get value out of working with you.  If you don't believe in your advantage, why make the call?

Once upon a time in a kingdom you call the office, your best customers weren't customers at all. They were leads, just like the leads that you're calling now. And isn't that why you're calling these new people in the first place? To determine whether or not there's an opportunity to deliver the same kind of VALUE and REASON that your best customers enjoy working with you?

On this call, you want to find out ways to talk about how you can make your customers' current assets even more valuable, how you can help them find new revenue streams, and how you get your customers across the finish line first.

Let’s forget about all those argumentative questions that are supposed to prove that the person made a mistake by working with someone else. Instead, ask the questions that point the conversation toward the positive VALUE you know you are delivering to your happiest customers, right now. That's where your advantage is.

Here's what that might sound like:

Jason Jones: "Steve, don't get me wrong, you sound like a very nice guy, but I really don't have any interest in this."

"Hey, thats okay, because I know a lot of people, like ABC Company, who were telling me exactly the same thing ... but that was before they saw how we could help them get more value from their current resources and reduce their downtime by 37%."

Notice that I am not trying to win an argument but rather focusing on my advantage.

"Anyway, all I was calling for was to schedule a meeting so we could sit down together and see whether we could deliver those same kinds of results for you. I'm looking at the calendar, and I'm free Wednesday at one. Is that a good time?"

Next, establish 2. interest and curiosity. 

Curiosity piqued the cat’s awareness level and gave it a long prosperous life. Whenever you start to ask questions that sound like you really care about what the other person is saying, you will be much more likely to make a good connection. 

In fact, if this is someone that you have never spoken to before, your most important job is to communicate that you are truly interested in that person.  That's what communication really is at this stage: proving your interest.

What will your specific curiosity-demonstrating questions be?  First of all, what does this customer in particular do to solve the problems that you typically help customers solve?  So you're going to ask about that. When they say to you, "Could you just email me something or mail me something?" Use your legitimate curiosity about what they are doing to drive the response.

Consider saying, "Well, actually, just to save us both some time, Id much rather figure out whether we should be talking at all than send you something that isn't right for you. I'm curious, what you are doing now to hold on to the most productive members of your sales staff?"

"Right now we are implementing the Yada Yada Yada program to do that."

"Aha. That's very interesting, because that says to me that we really SHOULD set a time to meet. A lot of our very best customers, like ABC Company, are working with us AND with Yada Yada Yada to improve their sales production numbers over time from their key people. In fact, ABC found that the two programs actually complement each other. Now,  I'm looking at the calendar, and I'm free this Wednesday at one. Is that a good time for you?"

Always be curious about what they are doing and when they are doing it because the best opportunity to make an appointment arises with a company who is about to change. If you’re changing something, you’re more likely to be considering changing vendors. 

In dealing with objections to making an appointment, look to ask questions that show your concern and curiosity, "When are you going to be doing something in such and such an area? Are you going to be doing anything soon?"

 

First Appointment Structure

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: sales, training, tips, affordable, value, skills, digital media training, cold calling, call, business, consumer behavior, marketing

Opportune Objections in Inbound Telesales

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 8, 2013 9:05:00 AM

Being able to smoothly handle objections and flip them into opportunities is a skill. There are four things to consider:

offer_target_offering

  1. Slow motion
  2. Agree
  3. Know
  4. Can I ask?

1. Let's begin with slow motion.  You can break down a sale into 4 parts:  First, you speak and ask a question.  Then, the client also speaks and asks a question.  You present and ask a question.  And finally, the client gives you a reaction. 

You receive the call, you speak and identify yourself.  You say something and proceed to ask some kind of a question like, "How can I help you?" or "What made you call today?" or "Is this the first time you've ever called us?"  This question acts as a steering wheel and sets in motion the rest of the call. 

 

Eventually, the client will explain his or her reason for calling.  He says something and asks you a question, which is typically the intent of the call. You then present your answer. Maybe he asked you to describe your offering. You skillfully present this, explaining the differences between “this one and that one."

And then you ask a qualifying question, “Is this something you would like to go ahead with?” or “Is this a decision you feel comfortable making right now?" to help determine whether or not you will be closing the sale.

The answer you receive will be a “yes,” “no,” or a delayed response.  Once you begin to notice this pattern throughout your calls, everything you hear your clients say will start to fit into a piece of the puzzle. When you begin to visualize how the conversations will unfold as well as the follow-up procedures, you will gain much more confidence and be ready for “every next step.”

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2. Agree. When you're speaking with someone, and you say, "You know what?  You're right," you grab his attention. On the other hand, when you say, "You're wrong," that’s when you hear the belly of an argument begin to churn.  Some salespeople tend to do this.  They'll be speaking with a customer who suddenly says, "Oh, I'm not interested."  The salesperson will ask, "Well, how do you know you're not interested?"  This can come across as a challenge, and well, that's not exactly going to trigger a pleasant conversation. 

Begin with an agreement, and watch the door slowly open.  Try following the universal communication model, which has three underlying truths: 1. People respond in kind. 2. All responses are anticipated.  3. And people talk in stories. 

"People respond in kind."  They like to match one another.  If you smile, the person you’re facing will most likely smile back (as long as you’re not over-doing it in a creepy manner).  If you say, “Hi,” you will get a “Hi” in return.  "How was your weekend?"  After you describe your weekend, the other person will also most likely share his weekend story.  People match each other, even physically. Try waving to someone, and record how many times you’ll receive a wave in return.

 

to_understand

If I were to ask you, "Do you like ice cream?" you'll either respond with a “Yes,” “No,” or, "I'd rather not talk about it."  How do I know this? Because people tend to respond in kind. Asking a basic yes/no question will result in 3 possible answers.  I can predict what you are going to say before you say it because I'm the one who triggered your response. 

If I asked a different question, I would receive a different answer.  Like a litigator in court, you should aim to get the customer to only say things that you can deal with.  You don't want to be caught off guard by asking your witness questions (answers to which) you yourself wouldn’t know how to deal with.

Ask questions only when you’re ready for all the possible answers that might come your way.  And do so in a way that not only shows that you agree with what the client is saying but also in a way that gets the message across. Begin with, "Others have said that as well…," and continue it as if you were telling a story.

Do not say, "Here's what I think…" because the customers will be much more interested in how other customers like themselves think about things. 

You: "So, you know, I was talking to another customer, and you know what they told me?" or "I was speaking with a similar customer, and they were telling me the same kind of thing." 

As you start using these stories as a way to illustrate your examples, you will communicate the point much more effectively, and grab attention.

 

Here’s a sneak-peek at tomorrow’s post:

“Be in the know. What awaits you at the end of the…?”

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: sales, training, tips, selling, sellers, value, sales tips, team, call, business, strategy

How To Open Up an Inbound Telesales Call (II)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 5, 2013 9:15:00 AM

Thanks for staying tuned. In today’s post, we will be covering the final two considerations to have when successfully opening up a call.

3. Our “First Questions.” 

This breaks down into two components.  The first is to “qualify.”  In other words, not everyone that you speak with is going to be able to be serviced by you.  They may have called the wrong number, wrong division, wrong department, but aside from that, what you should aim to do each time is to engage them in a conversation.  Do not just find out why they’re calling and give them an answer because that would be giving up the opportunity to engage

The second is to explore the possibility that before the person ever called you, a change took place in his/her life.  This could have happened anywhere from a few minutes to perhaps months ago.  Maybe he’s thinking about going on a vacation or about to commit to a purchase.  He is thinking that something needs to be done now or in the future because something is changing or will change.  He has either been looking into solutions for some time now or will begin his quest to do so.  The only things you can assume to be certain are: (A) something has changed and (B) however long it has been since he began his quest, he hasn’t found anything yet (lucky for you!). Why not explore this territory of opportunity while you are talking to him and ask,

  • “Have you looked at anything else?” 
  • “Why haven’t you already made a purchase decision?” 
  • “How long have you been doing this?”
  •  “What was the reason you called me?  What was the reason you called me today?”

red_phone_receiver_call-1

 As you begin to ask these kinds of questions, you will have a better conversation. 

4. And finally, consider the “First Answer.” 

If someone were to ask you to explain something and gave you all the time you needed, utilizing all the media help in the world, you could probably fill an hour or more answering questions about what your company does and what makes it outstanding.   

What we are faced with is the more difficult task of relaying the benefits in the fewest number of words possible. 

one_more_call

You  must alert your ears and listen to why the person is calling and clearly explain the benefits, not the features of what you are selling.  How will the benefit absolutely translate into what the individual needs that day?  The more easily the prospect can see the connection between what he is looking for and what you are selling, the more often you will successfully close sales.

 

 

 Remember to reinforce the 4 necessary things to consider when opening up a telesales call: 1. The Blend of Qualities  2. First Words  3. First Questions  4. First Answers

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: training, tips, selling, prospect, sales training, client, call, strategy, phone, telesales

How To Open Up an Inbound Telesales Call

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 4, 2013 8:30:00 AM

How do YOU open up an inbound telesales call?  Let’s focus on four things:

  1. The Blend of Qualities
  2. First Words
  3. First Questions
  4. First Answers

1. The blend of qualities.

Consider the call, and put on the shoes of the caller.   How does the call sound from the customer’s point of view? What is the customer’s ideal model person that he would love to be speaking with?  Wouldn’t it be someone who sounds like he really wants to be there, and who is genuinely eager to help? Wouldn’t you want to speak with someone who is well-informed and has the ability to provide you with a tangible solution? Isn’t that what you you’re looking for when you call that number?  Well, we need to recreate that sound consistently with every call.  But, how do we do that throughout the day with our natural ups and downs? 

Think like an actor.  How would the actor play the part of this character we need?  That character has a blend of four kinds of qualities.

Happiness is the first, and this shines through in the actor’s voice and the smile on his face.  He will sound like he wants to be there.  That smile will create that desirable sound you need. It’s key to be able to blend that with professionalism, which urges you to be careful about the words you choose to say.  Be careful not to offend anyone.  Also, be careful not to use words that may not be understood or initials that are not likely to be known because you wouldn’t want to sound like you’re trying to fool them or be confusing.

You also need to blend in energy.  When I get on the phone and I ask somebody a question, he or she says, “Hi. How can I help you?”

Customer Representative: “No, sorry. We don’t have that.”

 Me: “What about…? Well, couldn’t there be another option or another version of this?”

Customer Representative: “Yeah, well maybe there is one other way.”

***

All of a sudden, I realize that I had to think of the solution myself.  This person didn’t even have the energy to develop another solution for me.  I want to speak to someone who sounds like he is not only energetic, resourceful, creative, but who really wants to help me with my problem.

Add confidence into the blend. If you are simply all about energy, you are going to be speaking too fast, but if you are also filled with confidence, you will be able to slow down and choose words that clearly convey your message and ensure that it is understood.  You know much more about the subject then the customer does. You are in a position of authority, so embrace this and sound like you are.

2. Now, onto the “First Words.” Typically our first words are very simple, aren’t they?  We say, “Hi, this is…” and you say your name of the company and perhaps the name of the department.  This line is actually more important than you think.  The more of something we say, the faster it tends to come out. We say nothing more often during a call than the greeting and our own name, and so at the end of the day, the whole “Hi, this is Kevin from the Sales division at ABC Co.” all comes out as one speedy blur. 

Make sure that you are speaking slowly, so that the person on the other end of that call is absolutely syncing up with what you are saying.  You will want to use both your first and last name because that makes you sound more professional. Remember that what they have to say is more important, so do your best to keep your sentences short and simple.  Try saying, “Hi, this is [first and last name], from [division and company]” and then proceed to “The First Questions" (please stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post).”

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

 

 

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Topics: sales, tips, selling, sales tips, client, call, business, phone, leads, deals, consultant, contacts, telesales