Parent Category: Business and Finance
Category: Expert Advice

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Bob Tallent
The Synergy Group
January 2012

It’s never easy to make a tele sales call, and now it’s tougher than ever. All kinds of “studies” say it is five, eight, 11, or more times effective to use the phone than any other sales technique.

I won’t go into the entire tele sales process or psychology used, but I’ll go through some of it.

Pick a phone number from your database... call it. Even though you’ve made the call, you’ve no idea why you want to end it quickly, do you?

It happens all of the time. Particularly with new sales reps who are prospecting. Because they are so surprised that someone answered and will talk to them, they’re ill-prepared to take it further.

Once they finally get a decision maker, they begin the call, then move into something like: “Well, I’d like to schedule a time with you to do a web demo.” Or: “I’d like to email you some material and then call you back.”

Here’s my advice: If the music is still playing, stay on the dance floor. Take the call as far as you possibly can. Don’t be the one to end it. If your pitch is of interest and value, the person will stay with you.

The weak follow-up call

In addition to now proactively stretching out your sales cycles, wasting your time with those who will never buy from you, not taking the first call, you’re en route to a weak follow-up call.

Many reps send out letters,  literature, white papers, web links, samples and so on after the first contact and begin the follow-up with the standard: “Hi, I was checking to make sure you received the information I sent” – followed by the equally ineffective, “Uh, do you have any questions?”

After hearing “No, no questions,” they end: "Well, keep us in mind.”

The listener responds with the fiction: “Oh, OK, I will.”

Useless, ineffective, a waste of time – and a morale destroyer for your rep.  Communication is not working.

So, let’s look at it.  Because the initial call was ineffective and prematurely stopped, the follow-up is not much warmer. But here’s how you can correct your problem.

As I said earlier, go further on the first call. Granted, unless you are selling something simple and your sales process is transactional, you probably do need a multiple call process.

But be sure it’s worth it for you to enter the prospect into your funnel and agree to call back. You should have a variation of this criterion as part of your follow-up litmus test.

To summarise, take advantage of the opportunity when you do get a decision maker on the phone. Move the process as far as you can, have a good reason for following up, and you will turn prospects into customers more quickly, and not waste time with those who will never buy from you.

Make it your best week ever!


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