Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Things to Consider Before You Pick Up the Phone

How the script is delivered (acted out) is just as important as what is said in the script. Your voice and mannerisms need to be just as personable as your words. What can you do to improve your calls outside of the script? Here are a few things to consider.

Ideally, the goal of your script should be to have a conversation. Not a long conversation, but a conversation nonetheless. In the past 20 years we have written hundreds of scripts and delivered them millions of times. Regardless of the script’s subject the most successful scripts are always conversational.

Maximize productivity during your calling time. When you are working efficiently you should be making approximately 30 phone calls per hour. Remember, an average prospecting call should only be a few minutes long, unless the customer initiates a longer conversation.

Here’s another hint. We recommend that you only let the phone ring four times instead of the standard six. That sounds like a strange rule doesn’t it? The reason we make this recommendation is that in most telephone systems, four rings takes a total of 24 seconds. Six takes 36 seconds. The difference between 24 and 36 seconds is just 12 seconds, right? What’s the big deal with 12 seconds? A lot!

On a 30 call per hour project (and most of our projects run 30 to 35 calls per hour) that wastes 12 seconds per call (12 seconds times 30 calls per hour equals 360 seconds). The numbers add up quickly. If you take 360 seconds divided by 60 (the number of seconds in a minute), it equals six minutes. Six minutes is equal to 10% of an hour. How would you like to lose 10% of your productivity, right off the top, because you allowed the phone, if not answered, 12 extra seconds on a call?

Adjusting the amount of times you let the phone ring is one of the most basic things you can do to make your prospecting time more efficient. It can’t get simpler than that.

Remember to utilize some type of a Marketing & Sales Database, to keep your call time and prospecting experiences organized.

Be consistent and diligent. Keep track of what you say when you leave messages for Decision Makers (DM) and call back when you say you will. Don't expect that interested or not, they will return your call.

Have you scheduled prospecting into your day just as you would block out time for a sales meeting? If you do not make time for new prospects you can not expect them to seek you out.

Another thing to consider is the “voice” of the one making the prospecting call. Do all you can to make this voice friendly, polite, and specific to the geographic area you are approaching. I realize you can’t change your voice dramatically, but you can improve diction and vocal mannerisms.

Attitude also makes a big difference- do you expect the DM to take and enjoy your call, or do you see yourself as an inconvenience and interruption to their day? If that is how you feel about your phone call, how can you expect the other person to feel any differently?

What you take into the experience often determines what you can take away from it as well. Sometimes the old adage “Smile before you dial” is overused, but that doesn’t make it less true. When you are happy and excited, the listening ear on the other end of the line can detect that. Don’t be false, but determine your own motives for making a prospecting call, remember the overall goal of getting to know the prospect and enjoy the conversation.

Remember prospecting is not sales: when you talk to a prospect you are looking to see if they have a need you can fill, not telling them what you think they need and how much it will cost them. Get to know them, ask for information about their needs and concerns before you ask for more of their time or money. Most people have their own opinions and feelings so it should not be surprising that they are willing them, even with people they don’t know.

Maintain a policy of honesty and respect. Do not fabricate connections with a prospect or information about your product or service. When you don’t know an answer, admit it, but promise to find out and get back to them.

Be personable. Make a connection to the prospect as a person rather than a number off your list of people to contact. Just as you would want to be treated with high regard, they want that too. Offer, and expect, respect and common courtesy.

Are you taking advantage of opportunities to gather "I know a guy" referrals? Even if a prospect is not a good fit for your company, they may know someone who would be. This concept applies to current clients and those you are seeking to make productive relationships with.

Lastly, be sure you know what the "no" you hear means- there is a big difference between, "No, never" and "No, not right now." Remember the "X" factor. There is an appropriate time for every purchase and if you have an established relationship with the prospect you have more of a chance at being there when their time to purchase arrives.

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