For many people in the profession of sales today, the job of prospecting to set up a meeting is about as exciting as a trip to the dentist. (And more painful too!) Although the art of prospecting into accounts is imperative to the success of so many salespeople, it is the number three skill that most say that they need help with right behind closing and time management! As salespeople, we face a myriad of screens and gatekeepers that make our jobs much more difficult than we would like.
In fact, because of all of the non-professionals out there trying to make a living doing a horrible job on the phone, the prospective buyers of their service need to be hiding. There are few of us who work the phones for sales or for appointments regularly that have ever received appropriate training in these areas. The companies that hire us work by the philosophy of “Hire ‘em in masses-and kick ‘em in the asses!” We deserve what we get when our prospects hide behind voice mail, e-mail, and other gatekeepers.
As a matter of fact, as consumers, we have become so accustomed to the phone selling (or appointment setting) process being a bad one, we do the very things to those who call us after work that we loathe about those to whom we call during work. Think about it! A telemarketer calls you on a Saturday morning and starts to immediately go into a canned pitch for their product or service. How long before you cut them off to tell them you are not interested? How many of these calls do you take before you start simply hanging up on them mid-sentence or avoiding the interactions altogether by letting them go to voice mail? And why do you do this? The number one reason: You’re afraid that they are going to waste your time.
Even though the caller on the other end of the line may have had a very valuable offering for you, it was the approach of several others before them that sabotaged their chances. Do you ever feel this way when you are calling on your prospective customers? Although you may have an incredible offer for them and their company, one that could save them time, make them money, put peace of mind to their fears, and/or make their lives easier, you don’t get a chance to talk about it because they won’t take your call! Why? Because they are afraid they you are going to waste their time!
When you are calling on prospective buyers of your products and services, be aware that they have become conditioned to the same fears that you have. Knowing this, make sure that you either address these fears in your opening words or the voice mail that you leave. State clearly the purpose for your call and keep concise the information about YOU and YOUR COMPANY. Instead focus on them and their issues.
When leaving a voice mail, imagine that the person that you are calling will receive thirty or more calls from a salesperson like yourself today. However, she will only return ONE of those calls? Why should it be yours? Keep the focus to only these three areas:
1-The Main Benefit of owning your product/service
2-How Your Product/Service will cure their pain, put peace of mind to their fear
help them reach a desired goal.
3-How easy it will be to accomplish all of this.
These things need to be communicated in a way that it grabs the attention of the prospect quickly and communicates that you will not waste their time, either on the phone or in a meeting. It is very important that you are armed with examples stating that you have done these things for and with others (assuming that you have) but equally important that you do not go into exactly how you have done these things. You need to leave some of the mystery on for the meeting itself and not allow the prospective buyer to make decisions based upon partial information form a phone conversation.
How do I say this in a simple manner? The purpose of a sales prospecting call is to make a sale. However, that sale is often that of getting an appointment and nothing else. In order to get that appointment, (or whatever the next step might be) you need to speak primarily to the main motivators of the prospective customer.
They are only tuned into one radio station and that is WII-FM-What’s In It For Me? It’s about Return on Investment. (ROI) Speak to them about what RETURN they will receive from the INVESTMENT in time that they make in listening to you on the phone and seeing you in person. Focus on them and not on you and you will have a better shot of getting through.