Selling over the telephone is both an art and a science. The art part of the equation you’ll need to master first. Are you focused? Will you make the dials? Are you empathetic to customer needs? Can you stick with it? You’ll get this art stuff through your natural talent and training. Now, on to the science.
The first part of the science is proper positioning, and using this positioning to craft a compelling reason to call. What stage of the customer’s buying cycle are you entering? Do you need to develop a need from scratch? (No one knew they needed a smart phone until Apple developed the need.) Do you know the customer has a need, and you are simply a great solution? (Almost every organization needs insurance for example.) Are you the lowest cost solution, or are you faster than the other guy? This is important because what comes out of your mouth during the beginning of the call must resonate with the customer and hit the right stage of their buying cycle. Remember, they were doing something else before you called, and they’d really like to go back to what they were doing. If you don’t hit the positioning right, they’ll politely (or not so politely) end the call. If you nail the positioning, the customer will see it is just possible you might add value, and they’ll continue.
Second, you need the customer to articulate their needs. What open-ended questions can you ask to make the call about them, not about you. Oh, come on, park your ego on the end of the desk and repeat after me, “the call is not about me, it is about the customer.” If you want something who is totally focused on you, get a dog. Articulating needs makes them top of mind, and when something is resting on the top of a customer’s noggin, they’ll itch to solve it. Luckily for the customer with the itchy head, you have a solution, and all they need for this soothing balm is to buy what you are offering.
Third, make your product or service presentation conversational. Don’t prattle on for over 20 seconds on the phone, the customer will drift away to points unknown to you; perhaps checking email or the instant message which just popped up. Ask a question about what the customer wants, present back a benefit statement. Repeat.
Fourth, ask for the sale, or for the next step of the sales process, whatever is relevant. Your expert positioning, and use of brilliant open-ended questions encouraged wonderful dialogue. Your conversational presentation generated significant interest. Use this interest to close on what’s next. If your product or service can be sold on one call, ask for the sale. If what you are selling takes multiple steps, close on the next step.
Think of the interest you’ve generated as money in the sales bank. The biggest thief of your accumulated interest is time. Ask now.