1. Give the Entire Number
If you have one of those cute numbers that spells something, you might miss calls if you don't also list the numerals on your printed material. I know there are bigger crises in life to worry about, but I personally get frustrated when I have to squint at the keypad to decode which letters go with what numbers.
2. They'll Buy Sometime--Be Sure It's From You!
A Darnell survey states that 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact, but that 90% of sales reps quit selling before then. (There's another statistic we should be able to calculate here that I think I've heard before . . . 10% of the sales reps make 80% of the sales?) In the past, reps were concerned about asking, "What can I do to get you to buy right now?" That doesn't work anymore. As I've also re-peatedly stated, find out, "What can I say to be involved with you when you're ready to buy?"
Stay in touch with the prospect with letters and phone calls. Just be sure that when you do call or write, you're delivering something of value, so their memory of you is positive--not of a salesperson looking
to make a sale.
3. Be Sure Customers Are Satisfied
Dissatisfaction is the difference between customer expectations and results. The wider the gap, the greater the displeasure. It's your job to understand what results your customer expects, and then ensure that you can deliver before you sell them. It's better to turn down a sale rather than have it degenerate into a costly nightmare later. You won't always have a perfect fit with what someone needs. Letting them know, and even referring them elsewhere, still accomplishes what should be your ultimate objective: helping the prospect/customer get what they want and need. It shines a spotlight on your credibility, and these situations have an uncanny way of mysteriously reappearing . . . perhaps when the prospect does have something you can help them with. Don't leave it to chance though. Plant a seed. After referring them, say, "Dan, keep us in mind when your department does grow, and if you do find yourself looking for a system that will handle the volume you'll likely encounter, I have something that would be appropriate at that time. So please keep my card on file. You know I'll take care of
4. Negotiating Ideas
Here are some useful negotiating tips written by Jack Kaine: Label your communication. Meaning, preface your statement with what you plan to do. For example, "Here's a very important point to con-sider: This machine . . . Ask questions to which you already know the answers. People typically share more information with someone who apparently knows less than they do.
Avoid counterproposals. Indeed, ask questions about their proposal.This way you can identify their proposal's shortcomings, and identify ways to solve them.
5. Vintage Ideas
I had the opportunity to work with a great group of telephone professionals at Windsor Vineyards (Sonoma County, CA) who sell wine by phone. Here are just a few of the effective techniques I heard
"You will be absolutely delighted when you receive this wine . . ."(Reinforces their decision to buy.)"When you're serving this to your guests, you'll be thanking me . . ." (Ditto.) "This selection is like liquid velvet . . ." (What an image!) "How much do you think you could use . . . just off the top of your head?" (A non-adversarial commitment question.)
6. How To Form a Warm Impression When Greeting Your Prospects
Listen carefully to how people answer their phone. If they simply say, "Hi, this is Larry," responding with, "Hello Mr. Jones, this is . . ." is too formal. But if you don't know them, don't assume familiarity unless they've answered with their first name--it could put them on the defensive.
If your calls are screened and/or announced before they reach you, greet the caller enthusiastically by name. For example, "Hello Paula, how can I help you?"
Remember, they've already given their name once. Acknowledge that,and you'll start out on a more positive note.
7. First Name Only, Or First and Last?
A question I often get is, "Should you use your first and last names on calls, or is a first name sufficient?" Here are some general guidelines.
When prospecting, or calling people who won't instantly recognize you, use both first and last names. This builds your credibility and professionalism, and eases any skepticism. Decision makers have told me when they get calls from people using only a first name--and they don't know the caller--their image is of people who typically use only first names, i.e. service repair people, delivery drivers, and so on.
Another benefit of using first and last name is that it eliminates the inevitable question, "And your last name is . . .?" On calls where there's an existing relationship, last names aren't necessary. You be the judge of how strong the familiarity is.
8. Persistence Pays--For Them
If you ever receive comments about your persistence, consider it a compliment. And be certain they realize that they are gaining as a result. "You're sure persistent, aren't you?" "I am. That's because I believe so strongly in what I have, and how it will help you."
9. When to Call?
Have a specified field set aside in your computer, or a consistent spot in your notes for "Best Times to Call." If you call the same people on a routine basis, knowing when you have a better chance of reaching them can save you a lot of time--time you can reemploy making sales.
10. Hang It Up
The most successful sales reps have prompts hanging all around them. These are opening statements, specific questions, check lists, persuasive descriptive statements, and other time-tested phrases that get results. The reps don't use the visual aids as a crutch, but rather as an additional sales tool they can access when needed.
11. Are You Smart Enough to Get This?
Don't ask someone, "Do you understand?" or "Are you following me?" These questions belittle the person and insult his intelligence. The burden should always be on the questioner to make himself under-stood. Therefore, take the "you" out of it. Say instead, "Did I explain that clearly enough?" or "Did I go into enough detail on that?"
12. Make an Impact on Conference Calls
If you have the opportunity to present to a group or committee on a conference call, ask your contact to provide you, in advance, with the names, titles, and backgrounds of all those in attendance. Take it further and find out the likes, dislikes, and potential questions or concerns of individuals in the group. Develop a fact sheet with rele-
vant information for everyone before your call and ensure everyone has a copy. Address people by name. This all adds to an impressive, successful call.
13. Delay the Answer
Sometimes it's in your interest to delay answering a question until you have more information. Say, "May I answer that later? I'll need more information to give you the most accurate answer." Then ask them to write it down so you're sure to cover it later.
14. Concentrate Less on Selling and Objections are Minimized
There's a clear correlation between the emphasis a sales rep places on "selling" or persuading a prospect, and the frequency and intensity of objections he/she hears. The more doggedly a rep tries to sell, the more he talks, and the less he questions and listens. This increases the number of times the other person objects since her
needs are not being addressed.
Instead, place the emphasis on getting information. The more you know about the other person, the better equipped you are to make a recommendation targeted with surgical precision. And sales are the result, with even less effort!
15. Sign Your Messages
Sign your name to the messages you take for others in your department, and encourage anyone who takes messages for you to do the same. If you've ever wondered if Pat Smith was male or female, or if the phone number looks like a "3" but could be an "8," you know how useful this can be.
16. Record Your Letter
I always talk about the importance of listening to tapes of your calls in order to improve. Consider, also, listening to your letters. After writing a letter, read it into a tape recorder. You'll look at
it more objectively and spot awkward phrases.
17. You Might Win the Argument But . . .
Ben Franklin said, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Sure, you can likely develop a vigorous, logical argument for why a person shouldn't be concerned about price, or whatever other objection you might commonly hear. But unless it addresses their concern, it won't win them over. Get them to air out their feelings. Encourage them to talk about why they feel the way they do.
"Let's talk about that. To what are you comparing our price?" "What criteria are you using when evaluating the value compared to the price?" And that's only the start. Continue with the questioning. Only then are you able to address what's really on their mind.
18. You'll Never Know Unless You Ask
Never underestimate the amount and quality of information that screeners and receptionists might be able to provide you. Participants at a recent seminar shared stories of how they routinely get direct extension numbers of high-level executives, and even have the organizational chart read to them! But you must ask for the information.
19. Have Them Figure the Numbers
People are more likely to believe their ideas over yours. They can easily refute your data; they'll stand behind their own data. So, let them figure up the numbers. Ask them, "Do you have a calculator there? Let's go through some figures."
Or, ask them to write down numbers. When you identify a need or a problem, have them quantify it in terms of how many, how much, how often. Then you have potent data you can use later.
20. Get Ready for The Next Call
Your calls are your own personal laboratory. Test out new ideas and techniques. Just like the handyman in a workshop, tinker, revamp, test out new tools. It's motivating, and you can yield profitable break-throughs.
21. On Calling Customers
When phoning past purchasers, sales reps in all industries like to talk about accounts, as in ". . . and I was reviewing your account." Kevin McGann with Video Arts in Chicago pointed out that referring to a customer as an "account" is a cold, impersonal way to speak with the customer.
Instead, say things like: * "We provided you with . . ." * "You used our . . ." * "We were able to help you with . . ."
This resource is (c) 1996 by, and excerpted from, Telephone Selling Report newsletter To see a complete profile of this newsletter, click below. Find thousands of resources to help you in business, on the World Wide Web at Smart Business Supersite, http://www.smartbiz.com