Telemarketers have really ruined phone sales for a lot of marketing people.
Pushy, script-driven sales calls have soured many people against business calls, and as a result, many business try not to call unless absolutely necessary. This reputation can be hard on a lot of businesses, especially as it cuts down on the number of follow-ups, which might otherwise result in sales. Small businesses can be hit hard by this trend since they may have a greater need to keep their business growing.
Fortunately, it’s possible to take back phone calls from telemarketers and get your follow-ups back on track.
Here are a few things you can try to overcome the urge to avoid follow-ups, building your phone sales confidence and helping your business to grow in the process:
Recall Previous Contacts
One big difference between telemarketer calls and phone sales follow-ups are that telemarketers are completely unsolicited cold calls.
When making a follow-up call, your business has already had some positive contact with the person that you’re calling. This is a huge advantage to have, since it immediately sets your call apart from telemarketing calls. Be sure to look up the history your business has with the person you’re calling before you dial, and reference it early in the conversation.
Just a simple reminder that the person had talked with someone (complete with the month that the contact occurred) and the fact that you’re following up on that call can immediately change the way your call is viewed by the call recipient.
Establish Your Goal
Not all follow-up calls will result in a sale, and that’s ok.
Look at the contact history of the person you’re calling and use that to determine whether they’re ready to finalize the sale. If it doesn’t seem likely that they’re going to buy, don’t press hard for the sale in your call. Instead, focus on building the relationship between your business and the person you’re calling. Go into the call with the appropriate end result in mind, making sure that you focus on the goal for that call and that call only.
If it’s not time to push the sale, then having an outcome goal in advance will keep you from possibly losing a potential customer.
Outlines, Not Scripts
Create an outline for your call, noting any key points that you want to make and questions that you want to ask the potential customer.
You might plan out a few possible responses to questions in advance, but avoid trying to script out the whole conversation. You want your follow-up to seem genuine and flow naturally based on input from the person you’re calling, and call scripts simply don’t allow for this.
That’s one of the reasons that people hate telemarketers: If they get off of their script, they can’t continue the conversation because they don’t actually know anything beyond the script. You want to avoid this at all costs.
Ask, Answer and Listen
Don’t be afraid to ask questions while on a follow-up call.
You want each call recipient to be involved in the call, since this helps to strengthen the relationship between your business and its potential customers. You shouldn’t dominate the conversation, however; make sure that the person you’re talking to knows that you’d like to answer any questions that they have. Listen to their questions and concerns, addressing them as best you can. Be casual, be friendly and above all else be approachable to help them open up and interact with you.
Set Up Your Next Call
Toward the end of your follow-up, once they have asked all of their questions and seem satisfied with your responses, set up your next call.
Don’t schedule a specific time or date, obviously; instead, tell the person that you’re glad you were able to answer their questions and that someone will check back with them to make sure that they’re still satisfied. If they request no further contact then you can remove them from the call list, but otherwise they’ll be expecting the next call and you’ll hopefully have them that much closer to the sale.