B-to-B: You Make the Call
» Consistent (but not "mass") process and content
» Easily learned
» Opportunity identification with limited criteria
» Sudden volume, e.g., events, invitations and registration
» Order acceptance
On every call, caller conduct is where you lose or win versus information overload and your competition. This is why we must assure the appropriateness of the message given the timing of the call within the communication sequence. Here's the rule: Commit no random acts of calling, nor make any calls that you or your CEO would not accept.
Among the implications: Do not cold-call. You shouldn't be surprised; most callers do not like making cold calls, and business prospects are not always receptive to them. Instead, call because there is a relevant event in the prospect's business life, the prospect has responded to your marketing message(s) in another medium or the contact already is a customer.
Another essential telemarketing best practice is to do your homework before placing any calls. Calls should always be thoroughly researched.
Make sure your callers know and understand the business premise behind what they will do and say. Specifically, what precedes the phone call? What did your company promise? What do you really want to accomplish? What is supposed to happen next? How does all this fit together?
At the outset of the call, you have perhaps 15 seconds to sell the value of having a conversation and secure the approval to actually have it. That means there should be no elevator pitch nor name-dropping. Instead, make your case for dialogue:
- "Hello Mr./Ms. Prospect, I'm (say your first and last names) from (your company)." If your company's name is not universally known, create and say an ID tag that explains what you do. For example, "We're the data security people."
- "The reason for my call is to thank you for visiting us at the trade show, hearing about what you and your company are considering in data security, and seeing how well we might match up."
- "Is this a good (or OK or suitable) time to talk?"
With prospects who responded to a marketing message, start by learning their business motivations. Ask, "Of all the Web sites and exhibits you visited, of all the direct mail you received, of all the whitepapers available, how (not why) did you decide to respond to ours?"