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Cold calling? Talk with me not at me!

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We've all had that painful experience of having an annoying sales person on the line, you know the kind - they're the one that just cannot take the hint. The one you just can't shake off! Well, I've just this moment slammed the phoned down....for the love of...WHY don't they take the hint??? Now I must admit, this is naughty of me - after all, I train and develop b2b telemarketers and perhaps should have given the poor boy a chance...or should I? Did he listen to me? No... Did he understand my needs? No... Did he pronounce my name right? No... Did he ask me about our business? No no no! I feel ok with my slamming the phone down moment... I feel like I forever bang on about the importance of getting the message right to our team. Thankfully my team are seasoned individuals and understand the importance of listening to prospects in order to build empathy. They appreciate that pitch, tone and volume are vital at the start of every call as it sets the pattern for the dialogue. That said, even our team have their own foot in mouth moment - we're all human after all. The reality is that as long as you have some golden rules to follow for outbound calls, the rest should fall into place. It's when a telemarketer believes they can 'wing it' that silly things start to happen, like my old friend slam down phone boy - I lost count of the amount of 'ums', 'errrs' and 'basically's I heard today! And whilst I'm ranting about this, why do certain sales people over use the word 'basically'? He obviously felt the need to dumb down what he was saying (ooh about 12 times in the space of 4 mins) trying to translate in 'basic' language to me. Hmmm...perhaps renting out a water cooler is more complex than I thought??? To get to the point of good telemarketing, firstly it's really vital to plan calls. Why should the gatekeeper put you through? What will you say to influence that? Why should the recipient take your call? When he/she does take it, why should they give you more than 10-20 seconds? Too often callers use contrived scripts and think that will suffice. It won't. Decision makers are time poor, stretched and stressed and they have other things on their mind and people on their back. That could be their boss, shareholders, parent company, employees, husband or wife, kids or very important clients. They have 101 things to worry about. So your call is an interruption. Another thing important to recognise? Make the precious time you have with them count. So what can you do? Here are just a few things to consider. 1. Plan plan plan - Why should they see you? Why should they see you now rather than at some time way off into the future? Make sure you have a good reason that is, if possible, different from what they've heard before. Maybe you have an event, a white paper or some research to discuss with them. Maybe you have a new cost-saving methodology that is specific to their sector that is new. Make sure it is compelling. 2. Sound compelling - People buy people. It's still true today. Make sure you sound chirpy, positive, confident, authoritative and sound like them! If you go in with a subservient approach they are likely to treat you that way. 3. Respect their time - Make sure you check that they have time to listen. Are they off to a meeting or under pressure? You can often hear from their voice and tone when they answer. Listen for cues. 4. Listen - Make your point, ask a good relevant question then listen to the answer. Don't jump in. Show you heard and absorbed. Repeat the point back if relevant. 5. Ask good questions - Sometimes closed questions with a yes/no answer are good as they move you closer to your goal. For example, "Are you the best person to speak to regarding the selection of your PR agencies?" This at least makes sure you don't waste time pitching to the cleaner! Use good open questions to gain information (also from the gatekeeper) "so John, how do you normally handle XYZ" Make sure you know what problems you can solve and ask questions around this. But remember that you have to build rapport first. 6. Mirror tone, pace and language - Using their words is like music to their ears. Don't tap at the keyboard while you're listening. Write it down then say it back. If they say, give me a buzz in 2 weeks, say "that's great John, I'll give you a buzz then". 7. Call back when you said you would - So much business is lost by lack of follow-up. But it's also lost through poor follow up calls. Plan your next call. What else can you learn from them? What else can you let them know? What did you discuss last time. Remind them of that and use their language! And lastly... 8. Keep following up - Even if it's a "no for now", this doesn't mean it's a no forever. Make sure you work your database on a consistent basis and keep calling those contacts where you know there is an opportunity. Just because L'Oreal aren't interested today, they may well be interested in 6, 9 or 12 months. It would be a shame if a competitor called and you didn't.... For more info, give us a call on 0845 658 8192 or drop me a line fill your boots and visit our new website on http://www.getsoundadvice.co.uk/ Happy calling! Samantha Oggelsby GSA Business Development Ltd Training & Development Manager

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