For many small and micro businesses, sales activity along with all other business aspects falls to the business owner, many of whom feel anxious or uncomfortable making outbound sales calls. I hope these top tips will give you confidence to pick up the phone and reach out to prospects.
It’s important to get some perspective. Only 2% of sales are made in the first contact and this only increases to an average of 5% by the 3rd contact. The overwhelming majority of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact with a potential customer.
This clearly highlights the need for both persistence and the ability to build a relationship with your prospect. So be realistic. Negative experiences, combined with a lack of confidence, can make telephone interactions a frightening and frustrating experience for many people so being realistic will help you be resilient as rejection is a common outcome for telephone sales calls and, if allowed, this can significantly dent self-belief. Don’t take it personally and instead reflect on the experience and successes to improve.
Reflecting on your own experience of making and receiving telephone calls, specifically sales calls, is a good exercise to explore and identify your own techniques.
Below are my 6 Top Tips to get you started!
Cold Calls are when you make calls to prospects who you have had no previous contact with.
Long gone are the days of using a directory and working your way down. You need to be organised and targeted. Your data list should be your researched target audience in the market for your product or service.
- Consider what makes your prospects buy: the emotional drivers; the biological drivers; personality – we all know people buy from people; reputation; the sales process for your business/industry – building trust through positive emotions around your product or service. Prepare your sales call conversation hooks based on these.
- Why do they need your product/service?
- Who is the right contact? Position/Job title/Team.
- Prepare responses to objections.
- Your data list of contacts should be compliant, whether a newly compiled list, purchased or from your CRM. This will give you confidence when calling. Be aware of data regulations including:
- ICO – Information Commissioner’s Office – for guidance and regulation, you should be registered if you hold any data including staff or customer.
- GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation – The current EU legislation for the processing of personal data.
- CTPS – Corporate Telephone Preference Service
- TPS – Telephone Preference Service
- To script of not to script?
Whilst scripts create an excellent outline, it is important that you personally get to know the product or service, so that you can answer questions that are not on the script and talk confidentially about the product or service. A script will give you a feeling of confidence, as you know what you are going to say:
- It provides a structure for the different parts of the call.
- The script can provide some vitally useful sentences, if you run out of things to say or can’t remember all the details you need to include in the pitch (for example product benefits or features).
- It can sound more professional and use eloquent language, creating efficiency and quality.
- Include your hook – Communicate specific and direct benefits using powerful words, so you sound and feel more confident.
- Asking your prospect how they feel about something will force them to imagine the scenario, making it feel real.
- Keep control of the call by asking open questions to establish needs and challenges.
- Provide context for the call “the reason I am speaking with you today is….’ Use a connection, a mutual contact, client, association, location, etc.
- Present your solution.
- Have clear call objectives – establish correct contact and contact details (email and direct dial); make introduction of product/service and benefits; establish level of interest and potential end game; an appointment; send info and schedule a follow up call; make sale; send sample; trial run; subscribe to mailers; attend an event/webinar etc.
- Extend the sale with Upselling or Cross selling where appropriate.
- Recap and get commitment for the sale/next stage in sales process.
- Time Management
- Allocate a specific amount of time each day/week and keep to the schedule, ensuring it’s a good fit for when market prospects will be available/working.
- It’s easy to get distracted so ensure everyone knows you are not to be disturbed at this time. Don’t check your emails and don’t take incoming calls to minimise disruption.
- Set yourself a target number of calls per day.
- Reward yourself once achieved even if it’s a cup of tea and a biscuit or a brisk walk down the road and back in the sunshine.
- Be your best self. People buy from people ( it’s true!) so be warm, friendly and professional.
- Be real and make a connection.
- Smile when you talk as if you were face to face and your passion and confidence will shine through.
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of listening. Listen to the information being shared about your prospect’s needs and challenges to be able to offer solutions that fit.
Listen to conversational clues that can help build rapport with your prospect both now and on future calls.
- Follow Up
- Keep a log of your calls and the responses to monitor and track successes and ROI
- Follow up the call with an email, to thank the prospect for their time, to send your service/products and to confirm the next actions as agreed (e.g. sale, appointment).
- Connect on social media platforms.
- Keep in touch, send an article of interest and value, like/comment/share their social posts.
- Diarise your follow up action, whether an appointment, meeting or call back and get organised in preparation for it to close the sale.
- Add contact to your CRM and mailing list with their permission.
We wish you luck with your calls and would love to know how you get on, send us an update to Hello@Hello-Hospitality.co.uk or tweet @hospitality_kc
Written by Kathryn Clarke, Owner of Hello Hospitality www.hello-hospitality.co.uk