Most sales reps hate prospecting by phone. Part of the reason is that they believe some of the many myths that have been perpetuated over the years about “cold” calling. Most of these are nonsense, and just plain wrong.
Perhaps you’ve heard them:
Cold Call Myth: “It’s just a numbers game.”
Truth: It’s a quality game. It does not matter how many calls you place; what’s important is the amount with which you have success. A baseball player could swing at every pitch, but only the quality attempts have a chance of hitting the ball. Casino games are numbers games; sales and prospecting is a quality game.
Cold Call Myth: “For every no you get, you’re that much closer to a yes.”
Truth: You are no closer to a yes unless you are doing the right things to get the yes. The previous “no” has absolutely no bearing on your next call. Activity solely for the sake of activity does not get you closer to success.
Cold Call Myth: “You need to love rejection to be successful at prospecting.”
Truth: You want to avoid “rejection.” It is a state of mind based on how you react to what happens to you. I’m not a psychologist, but I would say it is impossible to love “rejection,” unless you have some type of mental illness. You can get a “win” on every call — even when you get a no. For example, you can plant a seed for the future, or simply keep the door open for a future contact.
Cold Call Myth: “The telephone is just for setting an appointment.”
Truth: Salespeople are using the telephone can to SELL every type of product or service. Limiting oneself by getting off of a call too early unnecessarily lengthens the sales process. Indeed, your sales model might involve a face-to-face visit, but that visit will always be more productive if you take your call further.
Cold Call Myth: “Never give the screener any information.”
Truth: The screener may in fact be a decision maker, or at least an influencer, and needs to be treated like the buyer. Trying to go around or above an assistant, and being evasive labels the sales rep as a cheesy buffoon, and simply intensifies the screener’s resolve.
Don’t buy into the longtime, false beliefs about telephone prospecting. Prospect professionally, the Smart Calling™ way, and you’ll make your calling easier, more fun, and successful.
Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing “rejection. To get FREE weekly emailed TelE-Sales Tips visit: http://www.BusinessByPhone.com.
Doing phone calls can be the most terrifying part of marketing. It is possibly the most critical link in the sales process. So it is very important when making calls to portray the right image. When you learn to control your voice, then you can master your calls for success. You need to sound confident, business like, in control but not over bearing.
The person you are speaking to can only tell what you are like by the sound of your voice. That’s all. They can’t see you so unless they have a picture of you or have meet you before they have no idea what sort of person you are.
You only have your voice to use, so master your voice to portray the right image with these tips.
I recommend using a tape recorder so you can record your voice. Read a passage say from your sales manual. Listen to it. Scary isn’t it. That is how you sound. What sort of image do you portray? Does your voice drone or just plain boring that even you wouldn’t take notice of? The first time I did this I was amazed to find my voice was high pitched; I talked too fast and mumbled. Honestly even I could hardly understand what I was saying.
Some points to note are:
• Make sure your words are clearly understood. Note here that the person you are speaking to may have English as a 2ND language or have a hearing disability.
• Speak slowly if necessary. It is not a race!
• Remember to breath! It is amazing how people at the other end of the phone can tell if you are not breathing naturally. Work out your pauses so the breath spaces come in naturally with the text.
• Stuttering. It can be a real problem for some. It is important not to fight the stutter just accept it. The person on the other end will respect you all the more for trying.
• Accents. I have a New Zealand accent and when I first started network marketing I was very conscious of it. But really everyone has an accent no matter where they live. The important thing to note here is can others understand you in other parts of the world. You may need to practise to master this.
• Try to get peoples names right before you ring. This is a real issue for me so I ring some friends first and then practise the name till it sounds right. This is very important.
• Alter your notes where you can so the text you are reading from resonates well with you. Is it how you talk, altering words so they are what you would use. You want the words to sound natural.
A good exercise to do is to read a passage smiling as you read it the not smiling. Listen to the difference. What works best for you? I know when I smile my voice sound lighter in tone. You try.
Now start playing with your voice recordings of your sales sheet. Read your sales text sheet and record again and again. Imagine you are the person on the other end of the phone. Ask yourself “How do I sound?”
When you think your recording sounds right get someone you respect to listen and advise. Get your voice right, to sound confident and in control. Now you can pick up the phone and make those “Killer” calls!
Wendy Heyworth lives in Tauranga New Zealand. Wendy has a successful varied business background that extends from sole operator businesses to directorships for multi-national businesses. She now uses her website to educate, motivate and empower budding entrepreneurs for their business success. Wendy’s website is http://www.wendyheyworth.com
Telephone sales training courses will remind you that telesales training is a path full of potential bumps and potholes but remember that there is always a rainbow in that puddle.
Customers do not want to feel as though they are being sold, they want to feel as though they are being served. On an average day a person is met by over 2,300 adverts for the next big thing so it is no wonder that when it comes to sales a customer could be numb and unresponsive. Read more…
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So we all hate having to make telephone appointments, it’s a pretty thankless task at the best of times, but if you learn your craft well, at least you will be out there getting appointments and making things happen. Just remember, if you sell a product worth say 5000 pounds, and it takes you 100 rejections to get that sale, then each of those rejections is worth £50.00. If you were paid £50.00 just for getting a NO each time, you’d be on that phone day and night wouldn’t you? Read more…
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At some point or other every sales person has to cold call. Whether it’s ringing totally new clients, chasing leads, gaining referrals, networking or following up on a conference card handed in it’s not something that many salespeople are that comfortable with.
Being able to cold call confidently, professionally and effectively will not only open up more potential business for you it will also allow you to feel more in control of your own destiny and much more empowered. Here are my top 10 tips for cold calling success… Read more…
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Even the word Cold Call will send shivers down anyone’s spine. Most of the people I deal with do not like them and will avoid them at any cost. I do not blame them and most often cold calls will not yield very high results. You are only likely to gain ten percent of your business (at the most) from cold calling. So why do we do it? First, there is a myth that cold calling is necessary to gain new business. Second, it seems to be a challenge to many salespeople to make the cold call. All of this is totally unnecessary if you can change the cold call into a warm call. Read more…
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o “Cold calling terrifies me.”
o “The phone feels like a 10,000-pound weight.”
o “Every time I have to make a cold call, I freeze up.”
o “I feel like a fraud when I’m cold calling.”
o “I can’t take the rejection when I do cold calling. It just kills me.”
o “I’ve gone from top producer to ‘hermit’ because of my mental brick wall
when it comes to cold calling.”
Cold calling the old way is a painful struggle.
But you can make it a productive and positive experience by changing your mindset and cold calling the new way.
To show you what I mean, here are 7 tested cold calling ideas that even the sales gurus don’t know.
1. Change Your Mental Objective Before You Make the Call
If you’re like most people who make cold calls, you’re hoping to make a sale — or at least an appointment — before you even pick up the phone.
The problem is, the people you call somehow always pick up on your mindset immediately.
They sense that you’re focused on your goals and interests, rather than on finding out what they might need or want.
This short-circuits the whole process of communication and trust-building.
Here’s the benefit of changing your mental objective before you make the call: it takes away the frenzy of working yourself up mentally to pick up the phone.
All the feelings of rejection and fear come from us getting wrapped up in our expectations and hoping for an outcome when it’s premature to even be thinking about an outcome.
So try this. Practice shifting your mental focus to thinking, “When I make this call, I’m going to build a conversation so that a level of trust can emerge allowing us to exchange information back and forth so we can both determine if there’s a fit or not.”
2. Understand the Mindset of the Person You’re Calling
Let’s say you’re at your office and you’re working away.
Your phone rings and someone says, “Hello, my name’s Mark. I’m with Financial Solutions International. We offer a broad array of financial solutions. Do you have a few minutes?”
What would go through your mind?
Probably something like this: “Uh-oh, another salesperson. I’m about to be sold something. How fast can I get this person off the phone?”
In other words, it’s basically over at “Hello,” and you end up rejected.
The moment you use the old cold calling approach — the traditional pitch about who you are and what you have to offer, which all the sales gurus have been teaching for years — you trigger the negative “salesperson” stereotype in the mind of the person you’ve called, and that means immediate rejection.
I call it “The Wall.”
The problem is with how you’re selling, not what you’re selling.
This is an area that’s been ignored in the world of selling.
We’ve all been trained to try to push prospects into a “yes” response on the first call. But that creates sales pressure.
But, if you learn to really understand and put yourself in the mindset of the person you call, you’ll find it easier to avoid triggering The Wall.
It’s that fear of rejection that makes cold calling so frightening.
Instead, start thinking about language that will engage people and not language that will
3. Identify a Core Problem That You Can Solve
We’ve all learned that when we begin a conversation with a prospect, we should talk about ourselves, our product, and our solution. Then we sort of hope that the person connects with what we’ve just told them. Right?
But when you offer your pitch or your solution without first involving your prospect by talking about a core problem that they might be having, you’re talking about yourself, not them.
And that’s a problem.
Prospects connect when they feel that you understand their issues before you start to talk about your solutions.
When people feel understood, they don’t put up The Wall. They remain open to talking with you.
Here’s an example based on my own experience. I offer Unlock The Game(TM) as a new approach in selling. When I call a vice president of sales, I would never start out with, “Hi, my name is Ari, I’m with Unlock The Game, and I offer the newest technique in selling, and I wonder if you have a few minutes to talk now.”
Instead, I wouldn’t even pick up the phone without first identifying one or more problems that I know VPs often have with their sales teams. Problems that Unlock The Game(TM) can solve.
For example, one common problem is when sales teams and salespeople spend time chasing prospects who have no intention of buying.
So I would start by asking, “Are you grappling with issues around your sales team chasing prospects who lead them on without any intention of buying?”
So, come up with two or three specific core problems that your product or service solves. (Avoid generic problem phrases like “cut costs” or “increase revenue.” They’re too vague.)
4. Start With a Dialogue, Not a Presentation
Let’s return to the goal of a cold call, which is to create a two-way dialogue engaging prospects in a conversation.
We’re not trying to set the person up for a yes or no. That’s the old way of cold calling.
This new cold calling approach is designed to engage people in a natural conversation. The kind you might have with a friend. This lets you both of you decide whether it’s worth your time to pursue the conversation further.
The key here is never to assume beforehand that your prospect should buy what you have to offer, even if they’re a 100 percent fit with the profile of the “perfect customer.”
If you go into the call with that assumption, prospects will pick up on it and The Wall will go up, no matter how sincere you are.
Avoid assuming anything about making a sale before you make a call.
For one thing, you have no idea whether prospects can buy what you have because you know nothing about their priorities, their decisionmaking process, their budget, etc.
If you assume that you’re going to sell them something on that first call, you’re setting yourself up for failure. That’s the core problem with traditional old-style cold calling.
Stay focused on opening a dialogue and determining if it makes sense to continue the conversation.
5. Start With Your Core Problem Question
Once you know what problems you solve, you also know exactly what to say when you make a call. It’s simple. You begin with, “Hi, my name is Ari. Maybe you can help me out for a moment.”
How would you respond if someone said that to you?
Probably, “Sure, how can I help you?” or “Sure, what do you need?” That’s how most people would respond to a relaxed opening phrase like that. It’s a natural reaction.
The thing is, when you ask for help, you’re also telling the truth because you don’t have any idea whether you can help them or not.
That’s why this new approach is based on honesty and truthfulness. That’s why you’re in a very good place to begin with.
When they reply, “Sure, how can I help you?,” you don’t respond by launching into a pitch about what you have to offer. Instead, you go right into talking about the core problem to find out whether it’s a problem for the prospect.
So you say, “I’m just giving you a call to see if you folks are grappling (and the key word here is ‘grappling’) with any issues around your sales team chasing prospects who turn out to never have any intention of buying?”
No pitch, no introduction, nothing about me. I just step directly into their world.
The purpose of my question is to open the conversation and develop enough trust so they’ll feel comfortable having a conversation.
The old way of cold calling advises asking lots of questions to learn about the prospect’s business and to “connect.” The problem is that people see right through that. They know that you have an ulterior motive, and then you’re right back up against The Wall.
These ideas may be hard for you to apply to your own situation at first because trying to leverage calls based on what we know about our solution is so engrained in our thinking.
If you stay with it, though, you can learn to step out of your own solution and convert it into a problem that you can articulate using your prospects’ language.
And that’s the secret of building trust on calls. It’s the missing link in the whole process of cold calling.
6. Recognize and Diffuse Hidden Pressures
Hidden sales pressures that makes The Wall go up can take a lot of forms.
For example, “enthusiasm ” can send the message that you’re assuming that what you have is the right fit for the prospect. That can send pressure over the phone to your prospect.
You must be able to engage people in a natural conversation. Think of it as calling a friend. Let your voice be natural, calm, relaxed…easy-going. If you show enthusiasm on your initial call, you’ll probably trigger the hidden sales pressure that triggers your prospect to reject you.
Another element of hidden pressure is trying to control the call and move it to a “next step”.
The moment you begin trying to direct your prospect into your “sales process “, there is a very high likelihood that you can “turn off” your prospect’s willingness to share with you the details of their situation.
It’s important to allow the conversation to evolve naturally and to have milestones or checkpoints throughout your call so you can assess if there is a fit between you and the person you are speaking with.
7. Determine a Fit
Now, suppose that you’re on a call and it’s going well, with good dialogue going back and forth. You’re reaching a natural conclusion…and what happens?
In the old way of cold calling, we panic. We feel we’re going to lose the opportunity, so we try to close the sale or at least to book an appointment. But this puts pressure on the prospect, and you run the risk of The Wall going up again.
Here’s a step that most people miss when they cold call. As soon as they realize that prospects have a need for their solution, they start thinking, “Great, that means they’re interested.”
What they don’t ask is, “Is this need a top priority for you or your organization to solve, or is it something that’s on the back burner for a while?”
In other words, even if you both determine that there ia a problem you can solve, you have to ask whether solving it is a priority. Sometimes there’s no budget, or it isn’t the right time. It’s important that you find this out, because months later you’ll regret not knowing this earlier.
Putting the Pieces Together
Have you ever wondered where the “numbers game” concept came from?
It came from someone making a call, getting rejected, and the boss saying, “Call someone else.”
But with the new way of cold calling, it’s not about how many people you call. It’s about what you say and how you come across.
Do you remember the definition of insanity-continuing to do the same thing but expecting different results?
If you go on using the same old cold calling methods, you’ll go on experiencing the ever-increasing pain of selling.
But if you adopt a new approach and learn how to remove pressure from your initial cold calls, you’ll experience so much success and satisfaction that it’ll really change the way you do business, bring you sales success beyond your imagination-and eliminate “rejection” from your vocabulary for good.
With a Masters Degree in Instructional Design and over a decade of experience creating breakthrough sales strategies for global companies such as UPS and QUALCOMM, Ari Galper discovered the missing link that people who sell have been seeking for years.
His profound discovery of shifting one’s mindset to a place of complete integrity, based on new words and phrases grounded in sincerity, has earned him distinction as the world’s leading authority on how to build trust in the world of selling.
Leading companies such as Gateway, Clear Channel Communications, Brother International and Fidelity National Mortgage have called on Ari to keep them on the leading edge of sales performance. Visit http://www.UnlockTheGame.com to get his free sales training lessons
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The telephone is an often under-appreciated and much maligned piece of office equipment. Have you stopped to consider how much business you conduct over the telephone? These 10 tips will help you improve your telephone presence and presentations.
1. You are the “Manager of First Impressions” for your business. Whenever you pick up the telephone, put a smile on your face first. It will enhance your vocal quality and you will sound pleasant and relaxed.
2. Listen attentively to the person you are speaking with. Recall why your dog is such a good listener: listen actively and in the moment. Multi-tasking is the enemy of effective listening.
3. Let other people talk! Make sure your caller has completely finished speaking before responding. Remember: sometimes they aren’t done talking; they are just coming up for air.
4. Use open-ended questions to get people to speak more freely. You should always talk less than the person you have called. It makes others feel more comfortable, particularly if you are asking them to make a decision. The more they talk, the easier it is for them to “buy into” what you are proposing.
5. To create affinity with your callers, speed up or slow down your speaking voice to better match theirs. They won’t realize why they feel comfortable, they just will.
6. Use your words for best results. Keep in mind you can phrase anything positively, negatively or neutrally. Phrasing your words positively will help you get better results more easily.
7. Voice mail can be your friend. Avoid leaving voice mail messages but if you must, think of it as a 30 second commercial on a highly rated radio program. You have the opportunity to get your message into the “ears” of your most desired audience. Your message should reflect this.
8. Plan your telephone presentations in advance. Think out all the various scenarios you might be faced with and write it out. This is called pre-call planning.
9. Tape yourself for self-improvement. Listen to yourself carefully and decide what areas you want to improve.
10. Make an action plan. Focus on only one area at a time. When you feel comfortable, move to your next area and repeat.
We use the telephone as our primary form of personal communication. People who are good with this medium increase their opportunities for success.
Jo Ann Kirby is president of KRG Communications Group. She has 20 years experience in sales, telephone sales and sales management and an extensive background in training and development. Her background also includes extensive b2b telesales management experience. Jo Ann has been published in The Toastmaster, NAPPS Network and Commerce magazines. More can be found at http://www.krgcommunications.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jo_Ann_Kirby
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