4 Guiding Principles for Successful Phone Prospecting
Whether you’re in sales, marketing, business development, or if you’re a senior executive, everyone who prospects by phone needs to follow certain guiding principles. These include being simple, honest, direct, and conversational.
Since effective prospecting is usually such a critical factor to both an individual's success and the team's success, let’s look at these four ideas from the perspective of somebody who's trying to identify new revenue opportunities over the phone.
1. Be Simple
No, that doesn’t mean you should talk like a simpleton.
What it means is that you must work hard, ahead of time, to simplify your message for the prospect. Make your message powerful and easy to comprehend in just an instant.
You have to summarize what you are trying to say in the fewest number of words with the most repeatable sound bites. You want to paint a picture of the information you’re presenting.
It takes practice, so start rehearsing today!
2. Be Honest
Don't lie. Start being honest.
Customers often anticipate false statements or lies.
So you want to bend over backwards to tell the truth.
If it's a sales call, it's a sales call. If you don’t know the answer, you don’t know the answer. If your company is not a good fit, your company is not a good fit.
Tell the truth and don't ever apologize for telling the truth. You'll be surprised how often you generate a good conversation.
3. Be Direct
Get to the point.
Don't imagine you've got an unlimited reservoir of attention to work with.
When you’re lucky enough to get someone to connect with you on the phone, you need to remember that they’re only going to be willing to stay with you for a couple of beats. They want you to get to the point where you say, "Well, here is why I’m calling.”
They want to know the reason for the call. The longer the call goes without you clearing that question up, the more suspicious they are going to be. And you know they’re already suspicious just because you’re a salesperson!
4. Be Conversational
Being conversational means that you should try to be the most enthusiastic, authentic version of yourself. It has to be the real you.
Consider this: If you were to listen in on one of your own calls, would you sound like someone you would want to talk to? When you are at home and you are speaking to loved ones on the phone, what does that sound like? When you are speaking to somebody that you have a great relationship with and you're excited about something, what does that sound like?
It sounds like a real conversation!
Because the emotion is real!
That emotion is you in your most natural state, your most interesting state. If there is no authentic emotion on your prospecting call, you can sound dreadfully dull without even meaning to.
If you don’t have the sound of authentic emotion in your call, you will end up sounding like the bottom eighty percent of sales performers. You don’t want to be like them!
The next time you pick up the phone to prospect, remember that the very best way to do that is to keep it simple, be honest, be direct, and be conversational.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.