At a recent buyers seminar one buyer commented that he was receiving less and less sales phone calls, yet his email ‘in’ box was jam packed with ‘Dear sir’ selling emails, most of which he deleted without reading.
Email is seductive. At the touch of a button with an e-marketing system, Sales people can blitz hundreds of emails within seconds.
It makes them look productive as the numbers are big. However, unless emails are personalised, targeted and specific, the chances of success are minimal.
So why the switch? The cynical, myself included, will already know that some sales people making a career out of avoiding using the phone to sell and email marketing provides the perfect smoke screen for an excuse to stop phoning prospects.
However, the reality is that, in business to business sales the telephone is an even more powerful selling tool today, than in the past. The Direct Marketing Association’s response rate report, has established that cold calling customers yields the highest response rate. 6.16% achieved, higher than response rates for direct mail, email, paid search and internet displays.
With the market getting tougher, volume of sales calls being made down combined with the chances of getting through higher, opportunity for success increases. But it is essential to communicate the right message, what you say has to be relevant.
These 5 top tips will make sure you get a great start.
- Time the call to avoid the gatekeeper. Call before 9.00am, lunchtime or late afternoon and you will have a very good chance of avoiding the gatekeeper, speaking directly with the person you wish to speak with.
- Always carefully research and plan the call. Be clear about your objective; sale, meeting, harvest details/information etc. Pitch your opening statement so that the listener can instantly see the benefit of a conversation with you. Know the interests of the person for the human touch. Make accurate follow-up notes.
- Keep to the point. Don’t wander of topic or start to waffle. Ever.
- Use Psychology. Empathise, build rapport, listen carefully to what is being said and take a genuine interest in the conversation so that you answer questions in a relevant manner.
- Act. At the appropriate point ask for the sale, appointment or information you need don’t procrastinate.
It’s not easy, which is why telephone selling is a highly sought after skill. If you are looking to improve this aspect of your business, I would be happy to share my knowledge with you.
Jonathan Wainwright enables organisations to create commercial success through digital marketing, traditional communications and team development.