Telemarketing, and Cold Calling TIPS YOU
CAN USE RIGHT NOW TO GET MORE BUSINESS AND AVOID REJECTION
By Art Sobczak
Telemarketing, telesales, cold calling ...
whatever you want to call it (and I'll use the terms
interchangeably), the professional use of the phone in sales is a
process, not a goofy technique or gimmick.
We're going to travel through every part of the professional telesales-
telemarketing and cold call, in order, discussing proven tips that can help you
right now. Let's go!
1. Have a primary objective for every telemarketing call, defined as,
"What do I want them to DO as a result of this call, and what do I want to
2. Prepare questions for your telesales call using your call objective.
Ask yourself, "How can I persuade them to take this action as a result of
asking questions, as opposed to talking?" Remember, people believe more
of their ideas than yours.
3. Also have a secondary objective for each telephone sales
call...something you'll strive to accomplish, at minimum, every time. Pick
something you'll have a reasonably good chance to succeed with, such as,
agreement they will accept my literature and place it in their 'Backup
Vendor' file." This way, you can enjoy success on every call you place,
and that does wonders for your attitude.
BEFORE REACHING THE DECISION MAKER
4. Treat the screener as you would the customer--this person determines
whether or not you'll even have a chance to speak with the buyer.
5. Gather as much information as you can from whomever you are able, prior
to speaking with your prospect; busy decision makers get bored when they
have to answer your basic qualifying questions. Use the "Help" technique:
"I hope you can help me. So I'm better prepared when I speak with Ms. Big,
there's probably some information you could provide me..."
6. Before cold calls, think of a good reason for needing to speak with the
decision maker, and be prepared to sell this to the screener. What they're
thinking about you:
"Does this person have anything of interest, or of value for the boss?"
7. If leaving a message on voice mail, or with a screener, be certain it
offers a hint of a benefit/result that sparks curiosity, but doesn't
talk about products/services.
INTEREST-CREATING OPENING STATEMENTS
8. The objective of your telemarketing opening is to pique curiosity and
interest so that they will willingly and enthusiastically move to the
questioning. You must answer, "What's in it for me?" for the listener, or
they will immediately begin the getting-rid-of-you process.
9. Don't use goofy, resistance inducing phrases on your telesales call,
like, "If I could show you a way to _____, you would, wouldn't you?" The
only decision you're looking for in the opening is the one to continue
10. When cold call prospecting, don't start the call with, "I was just
calling people in your area..." People want to feel like they're the only
person you're calling... not just one of the masses from a list of
11. Use what I call "weasel words" when opening cold prospecting calls:
"depending on," "might," "maybe," "perhaps," and "possibly." These are
non-threatening words that intimate you might have something of value for
them, but you really need to ask questions first. For example, "Depending
on what you're now doing in the area of employee benefits, I might
have something that could potentially increase the number of options you
offer, while possibly decreasing your overall contribution. I'd like to
ask you a few questions to see if this is something you'd like more
12. Have something of value to say on every telemarketing call.
Particularly those regular calls to existing customers. Avoid, "Just
checking in with you to see if you needed anything," and, "Just calling to
touch base." These are more nuisance than service. Be certain they're able
to say they are better off after your call than they were before it, even
if they didn't buy anything. Call with news they'll have an interest in;
ideas you've heard from other customers they might be able to take
advantage of; mention that you were "thinking of them" and tell them why.
One of my printing salesmen called to say he "just came back from a trade
show and saw something interesting, and thought I could benefit from it."
It's little things like that, that cause customers to say, "She always has
something good for me when she calls," as opposed to, "Every time she
calls she's just looking for an order."
13. Get information before you give it. How could you make an effective
14. Don't use a "benefit list" to present from. Instead, use it to create
questions to determine if those "benefits" truly are of value to your
prospects and customers. Some "benefits" could actually be liabilities.
15. Avoid asking go-nowhere questions like, "Is everything going OK?",
"What are your needs?", "Are you having any problems now?", "How's
service?", and, "What are you looking for in a vendor?" These all force
the person to think too much. Instead, get them emotionally involved in
seeing and feeling the pain or problem that can be solved with your
product/service-especially problems you know they're likely experiencing.
For example, "What do you do in situations when you need
parts shipped overnight, but are unable to get them?"
16. Ask one question at a time. That's how many they'll answer at a time.
17. After asking, be quiet. Resist the urge to jump in if they don't
answer immediately. Don't be intimidated by silence. They're likely
thinking about what they're going to say.
18. After they've finished, count to two (silently, of course). This
ensures they're done, plus they might continue with even better
19. Be confident in your questioning. One reason reps ramble with
questions is that they're not prepared or confident. Prepare
your questions. Role play them-with yourself if necessary.
20. Always know where you'll go with answers. Regardless of the answer.
21. Follow up their answers with related questions. Too often reps work
from a rigid list of questions, losing the opportunity to pick up on
prospect statements which are just the tip of the iceberg of their real
feelings. For example, if a prospect said, "I believe the main reason
production isn't higher is a lack of motivation. The best move is to
follow up with, "I see. What specific signs of poor motivation have you
noticed?", or, simply, "Tell me more." (For lots of other ideas on
questioning, and all parts of the call, get How to Sell More, In Less
Time, With No Rejection, Using Common Sense Telephone Techniques, Volumes
1 and 2,
22. Quantify the problem whenever possible. "How often does that happen?"
"How much do you think that is costing you?" "How much
time does that take?"
23. Resist the tendency to present. Some reps get so excited when they
hear the slightest hint of an opportunity, that they turn on the spigot of
benefits. Hold off, ask a few more questions, get better information, and
you're able to craft an even harder-hitting description of benefits,
tailored precisely to what they're interested in.
24. Learn more about the decision-making process. There could be many
behind-the-scenes influences on the decision. Ask about actual users of
your products/services, anyone else who could influence it, who
has to sign off on the ultimate decision or OK the money for it, and
perhaps people who would rather not see it happen.
25. You should only talk about your product/service after knowing
specifically how it will solve the problem, meet their need, etc. Then you
can tailor your remarks specifically and personally for the listener.
26. Get feedback during your discussion of benefits: "Do you feel that
would work for you?". "How do you feel that would solve your problem?"
Some trainers might tell you that gives the prospect an opportunity to
tell you "no." Precisely. And that's good. Because if there's a problem,
and they don't see enough value in what you've presented, now is the time
to find out.
27. Avoid the question, "Anything else?" when attempting to upsell. Just
like when a convenience store clerk asks the same question, the answer is
usually, "No." Instead, give them a suggestion, and help them answer. For
example, after they agree to buy an item, or a service, say, "Many of our
customers who get _____ from us, also find that ____ is also very
beneficial for them. What are you now doing/using/buying in that area?"
GETTING COMMITMENT (Closing)
28.This is not the major event in a telemarketing sales call. It's the
natural, logical, validation of the professional sales process up to this
point. But you still must ask. Commitment must be gained on every contact
in order to move the process forward. If there is to be a follow-up
contact, and information is to be sent or faxed, there must be commitment
on behalf of the prospect regarding that material.
29. Ask large. Think big. Buyers will often move down from a large
recommendation, but they rarely move up from a small one. Those who ask
the biggest have the largest average order size. Never suggest more than
is in the best interest of the customer, but not making a large enough
suggestion when appropriate is actually hurting the customer.
30. When in doubt, ask. Do you have a foot-dragger in your follow-up file
who is perched squarely on the fence? Ask for a decision! Get some
movement. A "no" today is better than one six months and 15 additional
calls from now. Move them forward, or move them out.
31. If you're going to schedule a follow up call, get a commitment of some
type. Why would you call back otherwise. If they won't commit to doing
anything--reviewing your literature and preparing questions, surveying
their existing inventory, etc.-they likely have no interest.
ADDRESSING RESISTANCE (Objections)
32. Objections can be avoided by doing everything else correctly up to
this point in the call. When they do occur, resist the tendency to attack
in defense. You must back up and revisit the questioning stage of the
call. The voiced objection is simply a symptom of the real problem. Start
by saying, "Let's talk about that."
33. If you have an indecisive prospect, get their mind off the buying
decision, and on the problem or pain. For example, "Jan, let's look at
this another way. What would happen if you did nothing about the
situation? Remember, we detailed the fact you're missing sales
opportunities every day. What will that amount to over just the next six
34. Most price objections start in the mind of the salesperson. Many sales
reps aren't 100% sold on the value of their product, therefore they're apt
to offer price concessions even when the prospect doesn't flat-out ask, or
they present price with a shaky tone of voice. Ask the right questions,
present the results of what your product/service can do, and state the
35. Avoid Common Objections Mistakes: Using slick, prepared, objection
rebuttals that only tell people they're wrong and intensifies the
resistance; giving up before attempting to understand the reason behind
WRAPPING UP AND SETTING THE NEXT ACTION
36. When sending information, samples, demos, etc., know precisely how
they'll evaluate the material. How will they know if they like it? What
criteria will they use? This way, you'll both be clear as to what would
need to happen in order for them to buy.
37. When sending material, prepare them as to what they should look for.
Otherwise, they'll get a package of materials and say, "Oh, there's a
package of materials," and then toss it on the mountain of other stuff in
their office. But, if you tell them to look for the catalog that will be
opened to the page with the product they are interested in, and you'll
have the three or four models highlighted that are most appropriate for
them, there would be a greater likelihood they'd look at it.
38. The success of your follow-up call is directly relational to what you
accomplished, and how you ended the previous one. Never say, "I'll send
you out some stuff, and we'll go from there." From where? Summarize
agreed-to actions by both parties, including what happened, what they're
interested in, and what will happen next. And set the agenda for the next
call. Makes it so much easier to prepare for the follow-up call, and helps
you avoid starting calls with the useless question, "I sent you the
material, didja get it?", or "Whatdidja think?" For example, "Ok Pat, I'll
send the proposal detailing the quantity price breaks. What you'll do is
compare that to what you're getting now, and if we're within 5%, you'll
agree to a trial order on our next call, is that right?"
ATTITUDE AND SELF-MOTIVATION
39. You never have to experience rejection again. After all, what is
rejection? It's not an experience-it's your definition of the experience.
So, ensure that you accomplish something on each call, and you can hold
your head high with a sense of achievement. Remember, a decision of any
type is better than shadow-chasing someone who will waste your time with
wimpy or misleading statements that cause you to believe there's a chance,
when, in fact, there's not.
40. A good way to end a call where you don't accomplish your primary
objection (and to never experience rejection) is to plant a seed for the
future. Give them something to look for, based upon what you uncovered
during the call ... something that might just cause them to call you back.
For example, "Pat, it looks like we don't have a fit here, today, but I
suggest that if you ever find yourself needing an emergency job finished,
and don't have the staff to handle it, give us a call. We specialize in
those type of projects, and would love to talk to you." Everyone has been
surprised by those written-off prospects who later called to order. This
is a way to proactively make it happen more often.
41. Imagine every day is the end-of- quota-period day. I've noticed that
reps tend to pick up the pace and behave like tornado in a hurricane when
they reach the last couple days of a quota period, doing whatever is
necessary to squeeze out those last few sales. When you coast, you're
going downhill Get focused on a goal, and pursue it with single-minded
42. As a sales professional using the phone as your main method of
communication, you perform a function that very few people in the world
could do well, or would even want to try. And that's persuading someone to
take action and make a decision, based almost solely on the words and
ideas that come from your mouth. It's quite an awesome feat when you think
about it. And do think about it. It takes a talented individual to be able
to do that well. You are that person. Feel proud of what you do, and
always strive to get better!
(Art Sobczak specializes in helping people say and do
the right things to get more business using the phone and avoid rejection
through his books, tapes, and seminars. See free back issues of his
weekly Smart Calling Tips of the Week newsletter at
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