Time has proven that telesales really do have a great return when undertaken properly. Amid all the negative publicity surrounding cold calling, there is no doubt that it works. Picking up the telephone to sell the services of a company offers more contact than an anonymous mail shot or e-mail campaign, and the rate of return is indisputable.
Having said that, cold calling can be the most soul-destroying job on Earth. How do people make it work, and how can it become a less difficult element of the sales role? Follow these tips to make cold calling a successful part of working, that you can feel confident about.
Prepare For Everything
Rehearsing is great prior to making a cold call. Reading from a script however, is not. There is a fine line between knowing the subject inside out, and being so rigid about speaking over the telephone that your subject is instantly aware that they are being sold to. Know what your intentions are for the call. Do you want to make an appointment? Gain permission to speak further? Understand what requirements someone may have? Write out objectives for the call before you even pick up the phone.
Don’t Script It!
The worst possible call to make is one where the speaker walks through a script which has been written out for them. This is patronising, boring and ultimately unsuccessful. It is acceptable to note down bullet points to keep you informed throughout the call, but don’t read from a script. You’ll sound unprofessional, inexperienced, and boring.
Ask closed questions
A closed question is one which does not demand a ‘yes/no’ answer. By asking closed questions, there is les room for negotiation. An example of this would be:
Is it convenient for us to make an appointment with you, to discuss your needs?
The answer to this would be a flat ‘no’.
A closed question would be:
When can we make an appointment with you to discuss your needs?
In order for someone to respond, they have to think carefully about their response. Agreeing to make an appointment is easier than turning the caller down. Closed questions are a superb way of manipulating your customer in to making that all-important face to face important.
It’s amazing how many people fail to be courteous when making a cold call. People do not respond well when someone calls up, does not ask if it is a convenient time, and bombards them with questions. Be polite and friendly. Draw people in to conversations that are interesting to them. When the call is over, thank someone for their time. A cold call invades someone’s privacy and space – don’t take it as your right to speak to people.
This may sound odd, but smiling when you speak really helps to put your customer at ease. A smile carries through in your voice. Before each call, put your head up, and take a deep breath. Be yourself. You are simply one person, speaking to another.
By following these tips, cold calling still may not be a pleasure but it may certainly help to gain you more customers. Don’t forget that the objectives are not to secure an instant sale, but to create an opening which enables you to make an appointment, find the right contact, or simply remind people that the company is there.