We’ve all been on the receiving end of an unsolicited sales call. They’re a fact of modern life, especially in business. However, despite their reputation as an annoyance, it can be one of the most cost effective ways of marketing.
To stand out from the telemarketing crowd, you need to go against the salesy stereotypes. Here are 7 major pitfalls that people frequently make with outgoing sales calls; and eliminating these practices will increase your odds of a great response.
- Not having a plan for the call
Nothing is worse than your prospect picking up a call from you, only for your mind to go totally blank. Always go into a call with an ideal outcome in mind and have a rough idea of how you’re going to get there. An outcome doesn’t necessarily need to be a commitment to buy; we’d all love to close a sale with any given call, but if you don’t achieve plan A, then you can also have a plan B (which may be arranging a phone appointment at a better time for the client for example), or a plan C (where you agree to send further information by post or email). Figure out the best outcome for the call, but have a couple of goals in place in case you don’t quite get there.
- Having too strict a plan for the call
If you have a script that you don’t deviate from which is delivered exactly the same each time, 9 times out of 10 one call recipient will say something that throws you a curveball. That’s your highly polished pitch out of the window. If you keep things too rigid, you make your call predictable, formulaic and obviously one of many calls – it screams “going through the motions.” Not to mention your telemarketing staff will eventually become irked at the “robotic-ness” of it all. Have a vague plan, but go into each conversation as a friendly two-way chat. No two calls should be the same.
- Going into a call with a high-energy “salesy” attitude
If you start each call with a bouncy yet insincere “used car salesman” vibe, the recipient of the call will immediately realise that you are trying to sell something. Remember that each person you speak to probably fields a number of sales calls each day from these kinds of callers. Keep your energy upbeat, but as realistic as possible. “Umm’s,” “err’s,” and pauses – within reason – make any chat more authentic; don’t be afraid to have a genuine conversation.
- Don’t go into every call aiming for a sale
Sure, some people you call may have been warmed up with previous calls and contact, but some won’t have. You can’t expect someone to buy from you if they’ve never heard of you before today. What you need to remember here is to take stock of how potentially close that person is to a sale, and what information you need from each other to help further that process. If they need answers to queries, freely give them and let them mull over your response. If you need a few points of information from the prospect to tweak your offering into something a little more suited to their needs, work through that with them. Not all telesales calls will result in sales; sometimes it’s a fact-finding mission, sometimes it’s an informal “hi” to introduce your company.
- Never stop at a “no.”
If a telemarketer stopped at their first “no,” they’d get nowhere. If you or your team are new to telemarketing, the inevitable barrage or initial “no’s” can be incredibly disheartening, but keep at it! It takes a lot of emotional stamina, which takes an effort to achieve but everyone can get there with practice.
However, this advice is two-fold; unless the customer turns out to be in completely the wrong market for you, or makes it clear in no uncertain terms that you are never to bother them again, always treat your average “no” as little more than a “no for now.” There’s nothing to stop you from calling again in a few weeks or months to see if their situation has changed. Even if it’s still a “no,” it’s an opportunity to find out more information and build more rapport.
- Always be nice, never be pushy
Hopefully, this advice should go without saying, but always be pleasant and professional to everyone. Remember that nobody is ever above or below you. If you’re calling for information, don’t grill people too hard; if you are after a commitment of some type, don’t force the issue if they aren’t keen. We’ve all received telesales calls where the caller has been too pushy or blunt – even manipulative. It may have mildly irked you, it may have ruined your day. To increase people’s interest in you and what you offer – you want to do neither.
- Record each call thoroughly
Once you’ve spoken to someone, always remember to record the general themes of the conversation in a central database so other team members can take note of what has already been discussed should they need to speak to that person in the future. This is where a high-quality CRM comes in. A CRM (customer relationship management) system keeps track of all of your prospects to monitor the previous contact, and see at a glance where each prospect is within the sales process. You need all sales staff to commit to using it and to record all call activity in order for it to properly work.
CallPro CRM offers an intuitive CRM platform, ideal for telesales teams. You can also compile professional looking email campaigns and customer statuses, all through our easy to use software.
Overall, the name of the modern telesales game is to come across as genuine and focus on helping your contacts above all else. Keeping your focus on that rather than the hard sell will leave a far more lasting and valuable impression.