In today’s marketing budget conscious climate, new business efforts demand more effectiveness on the phone.
In a recovery economy when marketing budgets are as scarce as honesty in politics, business professionals are consistently looking for ways to get more business while keeping a close eye on valuable marketing dollars. Spending phobias have set in and most businesses are promotionally paralyzed, not quite sure if any marketing they’re considering will work. At the same time, the uncertainty of business has many people gun-shy about getting on the phone and making sales calls afraid that no one wants to talk to them. It’s quite a crazy market, but there is hope.
Apply the following 10 principles and watch inefficiencies and phobias disappear.
1. Whether or not you consider yourself “good on the phone,” consider being great on the phone simply requires a selfless attitude. Yes, I said selfless. Care for your prospects and you’re a tele-pro of the highest order… instantly. You don’t have to be a super salesperson to make it happen on the phone, just be authentic, well prepared, and throw away the damn script. People are tired of over-plasticized, tele-sellers out for nothing but their own good. Preparation includes getting the right mindset on what you’re committed to accomplish on each call. For me, I pray before I get on the phone. I ask God to help me focus on the needs of the prospect list and to help me serve them as human beings, not merely as a means to my end…or walllet. 2. Take some time to get clear about how relevant your product or service is to the intended audience and get grounded. Conviction sells. If you can’t get connected to the difference that your product or service makes, the prospect will experience an emotional disconnect with your words, and their desire to get off the phone will resemble that of their desire to get out of the dentist’s chair. 3. Slow down. An expert once told me: “Slow down your conversation, nothing bad happens.” It enables you to think clearly and it allows the prospect to actually process the information you’re presenting. Slowing your pace also comes across as a sign of confidence as opposed to the rapid-fire nervous pitches we frequently experience… loathe. 4. As mentioned, never read directly off a script. You will sound like a robot. Reference the script if you need to, but you should have the pitch down cold every time you get on the phone. 5. Tele-selling is a numbers game. In our business, we know that out of twenty five contacts, we get one appointment, and it takes two appointments to make a sale. So “fifty contacts” is money. Create your matrix by measuring the averages and you’ll have your formula for winning. 6. Often, the secretary, administrative assistant or the infamous gatekeeper can be your biggest obstacle. Wise tele-sellers make these gatekeepers their friends as quickly as possible by treating them as valuable assets. In the movie Wall Street, Bud Fox asks the secretary what gift would entice Gordon Gecko, his prospect in his effort to score an appointment. She replied, “Fine cigars.” Bud sent over the cigars and landed the appointment. 7. If, when making cold-calls, I can’t get through to the marketing department, I ask the receptionist to be transferred to accounting. They always take calls. Once they answer, I apologize and ask to be transferred to the marketing department. An inter-departmental transfer always has a better chance of getting through than it coming from the receptionist, who’s trained to throw you into the voicemail abyss. 8. I don’t always recommend leaving a voice mail, but if you do land there 50 times, leave a voice mail, make it brief and to the point, friendly, not pitchy. Occasionally, the timing may be perfect, and getting call backs are the icing on the cold-calling cake. 9. When you do get the prospect on the phone, notice their style and mirror it. If they talk slowly and softly, tone it down. If you sense they are bottom-line oriented, tell them you’ll be brief and get right down to it. This wins big points in attaining a listening ear. 10. If your personality allows it, have some fun with people. Dialing for dollars doesn’t have to be mundane.” For example, I do impersonations. Occasionally, if the voice on the voice mail seems friendly, I’ll leave a message using a Yogi Bear or Rodney Dangerfield impersonation. It’s actually landed a few call backs and the ones that think I’m an idiot are not the type I want to do business with anyway.
In closing, tele-communicating is a skill-set and a heart-set you can use effectively in building relationships or in business. The keys are to be empathetic, prepared, stay prospect focused, get innovative, keep dialing. Now go call someone!
In the business to business environment, the most effective form of marketing is the phone… it’s the cheapest too!