by Tibor Shanto – email@example.com
On Monday I wrote about the need to counterbalance for some of the realities of telephone prospecting, and some things sellers can do to compensate. Today I offer up some other basic things you can do, to improve your success in some simple ways.
Some of these things may seem mundane and basic, but that doesn’t lessen their importance in consistent results from telephone prospecting. As in sports, music or other crafts, focusing on the most basic aspects is as important as mastering the big things, your messaging, value props, etc. The balance and combination of the two, augmented by your style and personality are what make for your success.
We spoke about intonation on Monday, we the most basic thing you can do is smile when you are on the phone. Smile even when you feel like reaching through the line and strangling the person at the other end. The tone and tenor of your voice is different when you smile, but it does carry over the phone and impacts your listener. We all remember the old song “When you’re smiling – the whole world smiles with you”, is true! Smiling is something you can practice, sounds odd, but in the heat of the moment, when your emotions kick in, you will forget unless you practice it as part of your routine.
Speaking of practice, yes, you should practice – out loud, and more than once. Sales people often look at me funny when I suggest they lock themselves in a boardroom or meeting room and practice their approach, be that a prospecting call, an actual sales meeting, anything important. By practicing, you become not only more confident, but master the salient points much better. In fact in addition to practicing, I recommend you write down the key points you want to cover, when you write things down you retain them better, just like in collage. By the way, this does not imply that you are memorizing the “presentation”, I don’t like presentations, but you can apply this to questions you want to ask around key points you need to explore to get the client engaged and in a buying mode. By practicing and mastering what you want to cover you minimize the need to think (or worry) about what you are going to say, when and how you’ll say it, freeing up valuable bandwidth to focus on what the buyer is say, and processing power to deal with that properly.
For prospecting calls, it is important to practice how you will respond to and manage objections potential buyers have. It is one thing to download our Objection Handling Handbook, it is another to spend some quality time with it in a room alone and practicing the methods and concepts, much like practicing a playbook in sports. It may unfold differently on the field, but the practice allows you to react from a base of knowledge. If the meeting is large, important, or to a committee, spend time visualising the meeting, exploring potential paths it may take, questions, comments or objections participants may pose. You’ll find that you’ll be much more prepared for the expected and the unexpected. The same works for a prospecting call.
Finally, and it may seem small, stand up when you make calls, get a headset so you can use your hands to express yourself the way you would in a direct conversation. With Bluetooth headsets, you now have the freedom to walk around, feel and be relaxed, and that too carries over the phone and adds to your intonation. Add a mirror to the equation and you can really affect the way you speak, and how they hear you at the other end. Some say this sounds bizarre, but to bring it full circle, I remember taking a telephone skills program from Bell back in the 80’s, and when we finished the course, we were given an 8 x 6 mirror, and in Bell blue at the bottom it said “Smile”. Worked then, and still works now, as long as you commit and execute.
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