Telesales, cold calling … whatever you want to call it, ‘the professional use of the phone in sales’ is a process not a question of luck or numbers.
QUALITY OF DATA
The quality of the data used in any telesales campaign is paramount to how successful it will be. So much time can be wasted calling out of date or ‘unclean’ data.
ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS
Goals are an important process of any sales activity. Establishing what you want to achieve from your activity on the phone will keep you focused and enable you to measure your success. Try to understand if your goal is to call as many people as possible or if you want to achieve ‘x’ amount of sales from your campaign.
SHOULD I USE A SCRIPT?
Sounding unscripted always sound better. At the beginning of a campaign, you may want to map out the type of things that you want to say and how you might react to certain questions. However, with practice, these should become second nature, and you should feel comfortable without the script in front of you.
Do what you say you will do. If you promise to send some information or call back at a certain time, make sure that you do. Your credibility and rapport will be lost if you fail to follow up effectively.
WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
This can be linked to the quality of the data you are using, but it is important to make sure you are speaking to the right person. Often we need to ensure we speak to the decision maker, particularly if we are trying to sell something. Practice speaking to gatekeepers and getting through to the right person.
VOICEMAIL IS YOUR FRIEND
Leaving a voicemail can help you later on in the process. Don’t expect the contact always to call you back, but try and leave a positive message, concisely communicating why you are calling and also outlining when you will call them back. Next time, when the gatekeeper then asks if they are expecting your call – you can legitimately say yes!
To try and keep the call positive, pleasant and ‘soft’, you should make sure you are focusing on the features and benefits of the service or product you are offering.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Another key part of any sales process, but asking the right questions early on in the conversation will help your success rate. Good ‘open’ type questions at the beginning of the call will help gather information and build rapport. When dealing with gatekeepers, try and keep control of the conversation – when they ask you a closed question such as “are they expecting your call?” respond but with an open question such as “No, but is Mr X available today?”
You should always evaluate the effectiveness of any campaign. If it isn’t working in its current format, there is no point in continuing. Look at your data, evaluate the calls and change the campaign to make it more effective.
LISTEN TO CALLS
Try and listen back to the calls you are making or even better get someone else to listen to your calls. Sometimes only when we hear ourselves in conversation, can we start to make the necessary changes to make things more effective.