Doing Business on the Phone
by Andrew Wetzler
More and more companies are turning to the telephone as a means of complimenting the efforts of their outside sales organizations.
Some companies are using telemarketing to qualify leads for their outside sales teams.
Other firms are segmenting their target audiences into large and small accounts. This strategy enables the outside sales team to focus on the larger accounts/prospects where a field visit is a justifiable investment, while the inside team can focus on smaller accounts best handled over the phone.
Regardless of the precise application, there are several dimensions of the calling process that will impact the results which are realized. I will address two of them in this article. They are:
1. Identifying and reaching the appropriate decision maker.
2. Capturing the prospect's attention during the call.
The importance of pinpointing the person within an organization who can make a decision cannot be underestimated. Telemarketing representatives waste an inordinate amount of time and energy pursuing the wrong people.
Several steps can be taken to improve the likelihood that a rep will make contact with the right person, have a productive conversation and remain enthusiastic about the mission. These strategies—including finding a list with names as well as numbers; leaving messages that encourage call-backs; and asking good questions while focusing on benefits—are outlined below.
USE A CALLING LIST THAT HAS CONTACT NAMES
Although there is a greater cost involved in renting a list with contact names, it is usually worth the extra expense. Having a name provides the telephone reps with an "in" when they place the calls, so that they are not immediately identified as a "cold call" by the receptionist or "gatekeeper." Many times, the name given will not even be for the right person; however, it still can provide the reps with a platform to gain the information that they are seeking.