Doing Business on the Phone
I believe there are several ingredients to initiating a successful conversation.
The first step is letting the prospect know that the call will be brief and gaining their permission to continue. There are several ways to do this. A path that tends to produce less than optimal results would be:
"Hi, this is _____calling from XYZ Company. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
A better approach is:
"Hi, this is _____ calling from XYZ Company. I have some important information that I'd like to discuss with you, and I promise I'll be extremely brief; O.K.?"
The latter is more controlling, less threatening and appears to present more value for the prospect.
The questions a rep asks should be designed to determine if any potential interest exists, so the most fitting benefits can be accentuated.
It's also helpful to lead with open-ended, rather than closed-ended, questions. For instance, instead of asking prospects whether they are happy with the current health insurance plan, it would be more effective to ask which aspect of their current plan they'd like to improve. This presents a potential opening that can be built upon with tailored benefit statements.
Business-to-business telemarketing initiatives can be effective and profitable. However, telemarketing sales reps often flounder because the process controls them, versus having a methodical, crafty and benefits-driven approach of which they are a key part.
It is incumbent upon the manager/supervisor to develop a training agenda that teaches a rep the appropriate skills. This should include the manager/supervisor actually getting on the telephone and making several hours of demo calls while a rep listens on a dual headset. Then, through call monitoring and constructive feedback, a rep can learn to navigate the labyrinth that each call presents in a way that produces a successful outcome.
Following the strategies outlined in this article will help sharpen the program and should enhance the results that are attained.