Posted Thursday, February 3, 2005
The telephone is still the best and most effective way to reach people. It can help generate more sales and build your business. Unfortunately most people don’t like the telephone and don’t use it effectively. In order to become more proficient using the telephone, you need to follow some basic guidelines and then practice, practice and then practice some more.
Like everything else, selling by using the telephone has changed over the years. The hard sell approach doesn’t cut it today. With voice mail, answering machines, tele-zappers, and caller ID the old fashion way doesn’t work any longer.
If you are selling a high end product, trying to do it all on the first call doesn’t work. You need to go through a couple of stages to get your end result – the sale. First you need to introduce yourself. Tell them about you, your business and your product. Next try to set up an appointment to go into further detail. Or maybe send some information before calling again. Moving one step at a time gives the customer time to become familiar with you and your product. It also gives your customer time to realize how important your product is to them.
You need to be confident and positive. As we have told many of our students, if you don’t feel like getting on the phones – don’t. That negativity and lack of enthusiasm is going to come through on the telephone. Many years ago when I was working in corporate America as a receptionist my supervisor told me to always answer the telephone with a smile on. That smile carried over into the impression the caller received when contacting a company.
So be sure that a positive attitude comes through . Remember, the old adage, “you must first sell yourself, then sell your product”.
Also of utmost importance is to know what you want to say. If you use a script, have it handy, but don’t just read it. I can tell immediately when a call I get is being read from a script. Write down an opening statement (for example, Hi , my name is Susan from Home Business Solutions. I’m calling about the home you have for sale. Are you the person to speak with? What’s your name?). Make notes of points you need to cover. Practice saying what you want to say until it comes naturally. Be sure you make strong statements. Avoid the words: maybe, could, but.
You also need to know your product. You have to perceive its value before you can convince someone else. You have to know what it does, how it works, and be able to describe it in terms that the layman can understand. You also need to explain the benefits of your product.
One of the first things I go over with our students regarding our telephone script is that they must learn to listen, and I mean really listen. You can tell a lot about your customer just by hearing what they are saying. Also be sure you ask their name, and then use it now and then. Don’t overuse their name because this can become very annoying. My philosophy is if I hate it, so will someone else.
Be sure to ask questions to encourage them to talk about themselves. Empathize. However, don’t do a lot of talking until you are sure you understand. Let them do the majority of talking.
If you pick a certain time frame to make your calls, or do a certain number of calls in a row, try to say it a little differently each time. If you don’t you will start to sound stale, lose your happy voice and sound as if you are reading a script. So if this starts to occur, take a break, or stop for the day.
As we discussed earlier in this article if your product is a high end one you will make several calls to establish a relationship. Once you have done this, and they remember who you are, introduce something new about your product. Keep a record of your calls, and details of what you discussed previously, so that you know where you stand when you call again. When I worked for a franchise company, I kept a record of every call that came in from franchisees or calls I made. First, my employer was amazed at the amount of knowledge I had about franchisees at my fingertips, and more important the franchisees felt like they were the only one, I knew them so well.
Using the telephone can help you get repeat business. For certain products, you can call customers to see how they are doing with the product. Maybe there are additional questions you could answer or problems you might be able to solve.
If everything is going well, you have a excellent opportunity to introduce your newest product, and hopefully, make another sale. This is also a great time to ask for referrals. Even if the follow up call doesn’t pay off right away, you are building a relationship with this customer. Remember it is a lot easier to keep a customer happy than to find another one. Your follow-up also builds credibility with your customers.
Doing the above will give your business a boost.
Copyright 2003 DeFiore Enterprises
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