Tips to Improve Your Sales Call
See how simple a prospecting call can be with the 8-Step Phone Call! Initial contact with prospective customers can become a lot more successful and ultimately profitable when you have a proven plan to work from. In this Brew, Tony Cole demonstrates an example of the 8 Step Process from introductions to being invited to meet at a later date.
After almost 30 years of working with salespeople, we know that the quality of the appointment is completely based on the quality of the initial phone call. To help you have greater success contacting and connecting with your prospects, I will demonstrate the 8-step phone call. This is a great way for you to look, act and sound different than all the other salespeople out there.
1. Introduce Yourself
Let’s start with Step #1: Introduce yourself.
You call a prospect and after they say hello, you say: “Hi Mary, this is Martin Jones.” or, “Hello Mary, this is Martin.”
2. Stop – Say Nothing
And then you execute Step #2: you STOP – say nothing – there’s silence!
How would you as the prospect react? You would be thinking or saying one of two things – “Hello Martin…” or, “Hello Martin, how can I help you?” You would certainly be thinking, who in the heck is Martin Jones!
But don’t let that be your problem. Think about what you accomplished! You got them involved immediately either mentally, verbally, or both. That is an immediate step towards connecting with your prospect.
3. Ask for Permission
Next, you want to take Step #3: ask for permission to keep talking.
“Mary, I know I caught you in the middle of something. I don’t know if it made sense for me to reach out to you, can I tell you why I called?”
I know this sounds very strange. The strangeness is a big part of what makes this approach more effective. It isn’t the same dialog that they normally hear. The dialog that prospects normally hear sounds something like…
“Mary, I know you’re busy, so I’ll be quick about this – let me take a minute and tell you why I called. We are having great success helping companies like yours secure financing at great rates to help expand business operations and leverage opportunities in the growing market. Given the recent tax reform we believe that companies like yours…“
You get the picture. The old school way is taking permission for granted. In the new school, we are asking for permission.
Step #4 – Inquire about their interest in something they’ve been researching or a business solution that you offer.
“Mary, I make it a practice not to make assumptions, so I’m calling because I’m curious. (Pause – not too long like we’re waiting for an answer but long enough to let that set in – most salespeople aren’t calling because they are curious). I’m curious about your company and what you might be thinking in regard to…”
This is when you reference what they’ve been responding to via marketing process or accessing on your website. If you are ‘cold calling’ then you need to deliver your your positioning statement – that thing you say that would cause the listener to say or think: “How do you do that, tell me more about that, or that’s me!”
5. Deliver Your Statement
Now, for Step #5: deliver your positioning statement.
“Mary, we focus our attention on companies like yours – 20MM plus in revenue, within a 100-mile radius of Cincinnati, in the ______________ business sector that are looking to grow by double digits year in and year out.”
“We know that many companies in the sector are frustrated with, concerned about, are challenged by ______________ . (An example for insurance sales might be: Increasing premium cost, but no correlating improvement in covered losses or minimized risk.) It just seems like that every year the renewal process has its own version of ground hog day – you keep on taking greater risk and self-insuring and your rates keep going up!”
When you deliver this type of message to the right people in the marketplace, you want their immediate thought to be “That’s me!” or, “How do you do that, tell me more!” What they are not thinking is how to get this person off of the phone! And this is happening because you don’t look, act or sound like the other people calling on them.
6. Can I Ask You a Question?
Step #6: Ask permission to ask a question:
“Can I ask you a question?” Let them say yes.
7. Drill Down
Step #7: drilling down to gain understanding.
“When you work on your business and you think about the challenges of growing your enterprise and the negative impact of uninsured losses, unchecked insurance premium increases and the lack of expertise when you need it the most, what bothers you the most?”
Take note that the emphasis on a solution wasn’t “What bugs you that “I” can help you with?” Rather we are suggesting to you that you keep the spotlight off you. This is where salespeople fail to position themselves as different. They launch into what they can do, and how they can help. Take this a small step at a time and get a feel for the open mindedness of this prospect to explore new options and relationships. Trust me, you will have plenty of time to demonstrate your expertise.
8. Set the Meeting
Step #8: Get invited to meet.
When following this process on the phone you will be shocked and amazed as to how much time a person will give you if you just give them a chance to engage. Focus on them, not you, encourage them to talk, be patient and wait for your moment to make a suggestion. Before you make the suggestion, you must ask for permission. Assuming that you’ve had a meaningful discussion, you can work towards an invitation.
“Can I make a suggestion?”
“Why don’t you invite me out to visit. We can spend more time talking about what we’ve started today, and you can ask me all the questions you want. I’ll probably have more questions for you and when we’re done we’ll both know if it makes sense for us to take any next steps. What objections would you have to that?”
So, here are some summary thoughts around your 8-step phone call approach.
- Don’t look, act and sound like everyone else
- There are 4 reasons for reaching out to a new contact – 1 get an appointment, get the engaged asap, get the involved in the conversation and to get invited to meet them.
- Know your market so you can ask market related questions and provide market related intelligence
- Be curious, gain understanding
- Be patient, take the focus off of you
- Get invited
- Record yourself – do you pass the test?
From Founder & Chief Learning Officer, Tony Cole