Telesales isn’t easy. There’s always that underlying sense of anxiety before you call – whether they’ve solicited your services or not. What if they hang up? What if you can’t answer their questions or find a solution that fits their needs?
These concerns are part and parcel of a cold calling process. But you can make telesales more palatable by learning and applying some tried-and-tested tricks.
In this guide, we’ll look at:
- How to capture and retain interest on a call
- How to ask questions, listen and understand needs
- How to challenge and overcome customer bias
- How to position yourself as a problem fixer
- How to seal the deal
Are you ready to sell better?
Based in Brighton, Second Voice has helped entrepreneurs UK-wide to refine their sales processes and win more business.
Without further fanfare, here are five ways to make your telephone sales process better.
How to get your customer’s attention
Getting past the gate-keeper
Imagine you’re cold-calling a prospect. Before a conversation can even begin, you have to get past the gate-keeper. This person is a living talking version of a firewall, whose job it is to censor all incoming calls and protect your prospect from time-wasters.
To get past them, avoid asking binary questions. Ask if you can speak to Jennifer, the company’s sales manager, and you’ll give the gate-keeper an opportunity to say no. Plus, you’ll have nowhere left to go and will have to abandon the call.
Instead, avoid using questions altogether. Just say you need to speak to Jennifer. The gatekeeper will probably block you by saying she’s too busy. But you can reply by stating you’ll put some time in the diary next week. This telesales technique lets you lead by stating intention (and avoids a rejection).
Sometimes, you need to throw the script out the window
Working with a script is fine up to a point. But it can also be restrictive and robotic – creating unwanted distance between you and your customer. It’s important to adapt to your prospects’ problems by going off-script to create personal rapport – while not straying too far from your call structure (in which case you could lose control).
How to listen and ask questions on a sales call
Having bypassed the gate-keeper, you’re now interacting with your prospect. Remember to use open ‘who,’ what,’ ‘why,’ and how’ questions to kickstart the conversation. This will (i) make the customer feel important; and (ii) help you learn more about their needs.
Telesales is as more about listening than it is asking. So give the customer time to answer instead of rushing on to the next question and use verbal (and visual, if Zooming) nods to show you’re paying attention. This will help build rapport and trust.
Start broad, questioning around the industry, or company, and slowly narrow down your questions to uncover the needs of the department or individual.
Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo to capture your customers’ interest
Your competitors don’t pose the biggest threat. The status quo does. Customers become insecure when faced with the possibility of change – whether it means buying a different brand of butter or switching their business broadband.
Change scares them. Even if they know it’s necessary. They’d rather limp by instead, convincing themselves that the elephant in the room is manageable – because they’ve coped so far.
This means your telesales strategy should focus on identifying the loss associated with the customer’s pain point – then how you can solve that issue for them.
The real challenge, though, is to convince your customer the problem needs solving. And that it isn’t easy. Have they tried to fix the issue before and, if so, what happened? Why is it so time-critical – and what will the outcome be if they wait?
Focus on discovery first instead of racing in with a hard pitch and you’ll add value to their problem, making it easier to tailor a solution to their ongoing woes. Do not bombard then prospect with features!
Going for the proverbial jugular – how to close the deal
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. All that hard work you’ve invested – listening, objection handling, challenging, and evaluating – will have been for nothing if you executed this final stage incorrectly. So, how do you nail this final step in the telesales process to win your customer’s business?
Try and get a commitment as early as possible
Ideally, you’ll want a commitment from your customer there and then. If you’ve followed the steps outlined in this guide, closing the sale should flow organically as part of the process.
No success? Take a few steps back.
If there is still some resistance from the client’s end, don’t push for the sale. Take a step back, ask more questions, listen carefully, then feedback your understanding to the customer (there may be another issue not identified in the first round of questions).
Give the customer time to think
If, having gone through the pain points, there’s still resistance, give the customer breathing space. Tell them you’ll call back but take control by giving them a couple of dates and times to chose from..
Don’t go it alone – get insight from an expert
Telesales is hard. Why make it harder by going it alone? If you’ve tried every trick in the book – but are still struggling to convert customers – it’s time to reach out and speak to a specialist.
Second Voice is a respected Brighton-based consultancy that specialises in helping start-ups to grow. Contact us to discuss your sales challenges, so we can create a bespoke solution to help you succeed.
Absolutely! It's one of many channels you can use. Get in touch and we will help you build it into your growth strategy.