Great salespeople know the telephone is a time-tested tool for virtual selling. Even before the COVID pandemic changed the way “road warriors” had to sell, the telephone was the primary tool for salespeople. So now rather than the black phone with pushbutton dialing of years gone by you now have a mobile device. As powerful as these small digital devices are the telephone feature is still a practical sales tool.
The Telephone Is The Oldest Virtual Meeting Tool
Sure there are many ways to virtually contact prospects: direct mail, email, video chats to name a few. But for the great salesperson, the telephone is still the most powerful. And simple to use. Telephone conversations are real time dialogs. You can hear the nuances in the voice. And react to your prospects comments immediately. The phone is a salesperson’s most valuable tool because phone conversations move the qualification and sales process along quickly. You can create interest and desire real time using a phone. Often a successful phone conversation is the beginning of a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship.
Are You Successful In Reaching The Decision Maker By Telephone?
Prospecting is the art of finding good customers. Great salespeople realize the phone is a salesperson’s most valuable tool to begin the qualifying process. They have a script outlining their compelling reason for calling. Great salespeople either have a referral to the prospect or know who the decision maker is. They call with the intention to create interest and schedule a meeting. The prospecting phone call is one step in the selling plan to close a sale. Done well it will set up the process to convince the prospect to buy from you.
What To Say After The Prospect Says “Hello”
Be respectful of the prospect’s time. Unless you have scheduled this phone conversation, your prospect is not just sitting around waiting for your call. The call is an interruption. After “Hello” start with an introduction of your name, your company and a short version of the compelling reason you are calling. Then ask: “Do you have a few minutes, or is this a busy time?” This is a magic phrase puts the prospect at ease and shows you respect their time.
I get one of 3 responses in order of frequency:
- “I’m always busy. What to you want?” Now I can start the qualifying conversation and schedule a meeting.
- “Sorry, I’m in a meeting, (late for a meeting, preparing for a meeting, etc).” I then ask: “When would be a better time to speak with you?” And now I have a scheduled telephone meeting.
- “I’m not the right person. You need to speak with ___.” I say: “Thank you. Would you please share his/her phone number and email address.”
The phone is a salesperson’s most valuable tool because it evokes an immediate response.
When You Leave A Voicemail Is Your Call Returned?
My policy is to only leave a voicemail message if I have a relationship with the person, they have asked me to call or they were referred by one of my best customers. The message is similar to the introduction to a phone call: my name, company, and compelling reason to call back. Then my name again and a phone number. If I will be unavailable to answer the phone for a while I don’t leave a voicemail. No sense getting lost is voicemail hell with the prospect and salesperson leaving voicemail for each other.
If the prospect hasn’t called back in a reasonable time, I’ll call again. I may call several times trying to connect at different times of the day but I only leave the first voicemail. The phone is a salesperson’s most valuable tool when a compelling voicemail is used to move the selling process along.
How To Deal With Receptionists And Assistants
Receptionists and assistants are my favorite people. Most of the time they are very helpful. When I haven’t been lucky enough to get through to a prospect on their direct line, I call the company’s main number. I explain I’ve been trying to reach the prospect but have not been successful. Sometimes I get sent to their assistant; sometimes the receptionist is helpful. I often learn when the best time to call is. Occasionally I hear: “Oh, you’re in luck. He just got back from a meeting. I’ll put you through.”
By treating the receptionist or assistant with the same respect as I would a decision maker at the prospect company, I get significant qualifying information. I learn of alternative prospects to speak with, best times to call, or my competitor just had a meeting with the boss. My script outline for speaking with a receptionist or assistant is similar to the one for the prospect: name, company and compelling reason for the call. Worst case is they will take a message and personally deliver it to the prospect.
What You Can Do Right Now Using The Telephone
- Believe in the value of the telephone call
- Practice listening skills for the nuances of conversation
- Feel comfortable asking the receptionist or assistant for help
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Fifteen, Setting Appointments, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales help, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.