In my post entitled “Why Sales People Should Never Cold Call,” I shared about how Wendover-Insight PRM CEO Larry Dillon and I believe that most successful sales people are weak at prospecting and cold calling. We both agree smart managers recognize the difference between sales people and business developers—and the importance of putting each in the correct roles.
In this article, I’d like to take that discussion further by exploring what I believe an inside sales person (aka, a telemarketer) should say when cold calling a prospect. But first, let me be clear about a few prerequisites:
- Know what you’re selling: if you’re going to cold call, you must first master your knowledge of your product or service. So, for example, if your main revenue stream is derived from selling office furniture, you should learn as much as possible about your furniture brand(s). If you are an office mover, you must have a thorough understanding of not only your services, but about what factors differentiate your company from its competitors.
- Be comfortable talking to strangers on the phone: to be successful, you must be at ease speaking on the phone with a lot of people each day. That means being upbeat, motivated, articulate, persuasive, and persistent.
- Be able to handle rejection: a LOT of rejection. Master motivator and salesman Zig Ziglar once said, “A clear rejection is better than a fake promise.” Often, you can learn something from “no” that will help you get closer to “yes,” so don’t fear rejection—embrace it! It’s a normal part of a sales person’s job.
- Use a script: To make sure you stay on track, use a script to describe your products’ or services’ features and benefits. Write down exactly what to say to the prospect, what responses and objections you can anticipate, and what you’ll say to overcome them. The script will help you control the conversation and sound confident; learn and practice it until it no longer sounds like you’re reading it.
- Record your conversations: get into the habit of recording your conversations. This enables you to identify what went right, wrong, and what you would change. Did you listen to the prospect and answer his questions or did you talk over him?
What to Say
- Your first sentence should identify who you are and the reason for your call. At my moving company, we said, “My name is Ed Katz, and I’m with Peachtree Movers. If you had to shift some furniture from one side of the floor to the other, who at your company would be responsible for contacting the mover? That’s the person I’d like to talk to.” Even if we knew they were moving, we never said, “I understand you’re moving, and I’d like to talk to the person who is handling your move.” To do so might start a firestorm if the company didn’t want its employees to know they were moving.
If your company sells office furniture, telephone systems, copiers, or computers, you might say, “My name is Ed Katz with (your company name). If you needed to purchase more (or replace your company’s product), who at your company would contact us? I’d like to talk to that person about a special offer we’re running.” You get the idea.
- Write down the top objections and what you can say to overcome them. For example, if they say, “We’re not moving,” you might ask, “Are you not moving because you’re renewing your lease?” If they say, “Yes,” you could say, “Most landlords install new carpet when you renew, and therefore, you might need to move to temporary vacant space within the building for 90 days while they refurbish your space. I’d like to meet with you to show you how we can minimize the disruption of your two moves.”
- If they say they’re not buying more office furniture, telephones, or replacing their copier or computers, you might say the following: “If you ever found it necessary to get advice on this type of purchase, could I please be first in line to talk about your needs?” If they say, “Okay,” you could add, “I’m just curious, what would need to happen for you to consider buying more… (or replacing your product)? Okay, I’ll keep in touch and call you again in a few months to see if your needs have changed.” Listen to their answer and follow up on a regular basis and offer them a “special” opportunity, incentive, or discount.
- If you get a positive response, make an appointment for your outside sales person to meet with them. Don’t ask when they can meet with your “sales consultant.” Instead, tell them when he or she is available by giving the prospect two choices—a morning and an afternoon on a different day.
BOTTOM LINE: whether your prospect is ready to move forward or wants to be left alone, be prepared to overcome their objections to enable you to keep their buying door and your relationship open.
Please see my next post to learn how to “Blaze new trails and not follow the followers” when you meet with the prospect.
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http://www.officemoves.com/training/index.html or call Ed Katz at 404.358.2172.