Sometimes you feel as though you know your products and services so well that you can just pick up the telephone, make some calls and start talking.
But the reality is that without a structure or plan, you leave too many things open to chance and can lose control of the call.
Purposes for calling
Let’s talk about the purpose of calling. This may seem obvious. You are calling because you are trying to get new customers, right? Well, you could have different purposes for calling prospects.
You could be calling prospects to inform them of something. You may say: “I just wanted to let you know that we’re offering a free seminar next week and I thought it might interest you.”
Here, in calling to simply inform a prospect of something, you can also help position yourself as an industry expert or as someone who cares. This way, you will stay top of mind with them when they are looking for a solution provider such as yourself.
Another purpose of your call could be to remind a prospect of something. Here, you could be calling them simply to say: “I just want to remind you that we have an appointment next Thursday at 5pm. I look forward to speaking with you then.”
You could also want to remind prospects of a very important deadline.
Notice how the objectives in these examples really have little to do with what you would consider selling but those types of calls still put you top of mind with your prospect. Generally, such calls will be well received.
The third purpose of your call could be to persuade people. This is the type of call that you associate more with selling. Here, you try to persuade a prospect, encourage or compel him to take action or make a decision.
This objective is what you would typically associate with the kind of cold call where you are trying to schedule an appointment. Sometimes you may be trying to actually sell the prospect something on the telephone right then and there. This kind of cold call is not really my style though it might be appropriate for some industries.
Once you are clear about your objective, it becomes easier for you to create the script that you are going to use when you are on the telephone.
Your telephone script has six different sections: introducing yourself, building rapport, establishing credibility, making your offer, getting a commitment and ending your call.
Generally, you would introduce yourself with “Good morning, it’s John Doe calling from ABC Company.” Next, most people would ask, “How are you today?”
I’m not a big fan of this question. If you are genuinely asking me how I’m doing, I could say, “I’m busy right now, I don’t have time”. Also, if you are asking this question but you don’t care how I’m doing, then you’ll come across as insincere.
Rather, I would say: “Good morning, it’s Tom Abbott calling from Soho Sales Coaching. How are you? Have you got a minute?”
The question that I am sincere about asking and the one that I want an honest answer to is: “Have you got a minute?” Or, “Do you have time to speak right now?” Or, “Is this a good time to speak?”
Here, you are controlling the call. There are only two possible answers to those questions. “Yes, this is a good time” gives you permission to continue with a script. “No, this is not a good time” gives you permission to ask them when would be a better time.
Notice how you are controlling the call. If it’s not a good time for them, ask them when it would be a better time for you to call them back. Typically, people respond by asking, “What’s it regarding?” Or, “What is this about?”
Notice how the person has just given you permission to actually answer that question. No matter which way a person responds, you win when you introduce yourself and ask a strategic question.