Too many people in sales view outgoing sales calls as torturous. Whether the sales person is experiencing a fear of rejection, a desire to be liked by the prospect, or just thinks the prospect will be too “busy” to talk to them (everyone is busy); it all comes down to attitude and mentality.
With the right attitude and by paying close attention to what happens, each rejection you deal with will be a learning experience. You’ll learn what not to say and when not to call. The key to call rejection is to take close notice of failed attempts and improving on every single call so you won’t make the same mistakes. Rather than letting it ruin your attitude for the next call, you should find yourself saying, “Well, that didn’t work. What’s a better way to say it?”
With proper fine-tuning, you’ll soon find your calls being well received and you’ll experience fewer rejections. To save you some time on this learning curve, here are eight points you need to consider before making any business calls.
1. Develop a professional greeting. Don’t just say hello and jump into your telephone presentation without taking a breath or allowing the other party to participate. Your greeting should err on the side of formality. Begin with Mr., Mrs. or Ms, as in “Good afternoon, Mr. Smith.” Or “Good morning, Mrs. Jones.” Everyone else says, “Hello.” Be different. Be professional. Speak slowly!
2. Introduce yourself and your company. “My name is Tony Smith with Salesdialers. We’re an insurance company that specializes in helping businesses like yours save money.” Don’t get into specifics or mention your product yet. If you do, that allows the other party to say, “Oh, we’re happy with what we’ve got. Thanks anyway,” and hang up. By keeping your introduction general, yet mentioning a benefit, you’ll pique your prospect’s curiosity and keep them on the line longer.
3. State the purpose of your call. It’s best if you can provide the purpose within a question. “If we can show you a way to improve the quality of your product at a lower cost, would you be interested to know more?” This is very likely to get a yes response. At this point, you’re ready to start selling an opportunity to meet this person or to get their permission to provide them with more information. You’re not selling your product yet–you’re selling what your product will do for him.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough question. “What problems are you experiencing with your current service/product?” Get to the point and let the prospect know you’re serious and ready to take care of them better than whoever may currently have their business. Note: After asking the tough question there will typically be an awkward silence. Let that soak for a minute and make the prospect break the silence.
5. Schedule a meeting. Get a confirmation to meet, either in person or to teleconference to get the information you need in order to give a solid presentation. If he’s so interested that he wants to do it right then and there, that’s OK.
6. If a face-to-face meeting is the most appropriate next step, use the alternate-of-choice questioning strategy. Offer him two times, “Mr. Johnson, I can pop by your office at 2:15 p.m. today to discuss this further. Or would 9:45 a.m. tomorrow better suit your schedule?” You didn’t say, “When can we meet?” When you use the alternate of choice, you take control of getting the appointment. And note: Asking for an off-hour gets you noticed. There’s something about setting a meeting at an off-hour that says you’re a salesperson who’ll be punctual and respect your prospect’s time. Try it.
7. Thank them for their time today and for the upcoming appointment. Reconfirm the date, time and location of the appointment. Ask for directions if you need them. Tell him how much preparation you’ll do in order to make the best use of the time you’ll share. Give him your contact information this way: “If anything else comes to mind that I should be aware of prior to our meeting, please contact me at (212) 555-1212.”
8. Follow up. If your meeting is more than a few days in the future, send a letter of confirmation immediately. If the meeting is tomorrow, send an e-mail confirmation. Keep it short and upbeat.