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In this series, I share tips for making every call you make count. You can't not make calls, and your excuses aren't cutting it because they simply aren't adding cash to your bottom line.
Acknowledge the Person You are Calling. Personalize your conversation and develop rapport by taking a moment to acknowledge or appreciate something about the person you are speaking to. Say something like, "I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me." or "Thank you for being at the meeting last week." or "It was great to meet you the other week at the conference." Find something to say that is a genuine acknowledgment of the person you have called. This transforms a sales call into a conversation.
Read the Level of Rapport. You want to build rapport with the person you are speaking to as quickly as possible. Some people play "Relationship Geography," asking people questions to try and find a person they know in common. This is fine if the person is friendly, interested and has time to spare. Other people find this intrusive and frustrating because they are at work so they can be working. You have to be able to gauge the level of warmth, interest and enthusiasm of the person and match that level, plus just a bit more. If they seem stoic, be a bit warmer than stoic. If they are enthusiastic, be a bit more enthusiastic. If they are in a hurry, spit it out and get on your way quickly! You don't want your conversation to make anyone feel like this:
Be Brief. In order to hold the attention of listeners and keep them engaged, speak in short sentences. Do not use “marketing monologue.” Be the kind of person who others will determine they can speak with on the phone for only a few minutes. Most people do not want to "shoot the breeze" during business hours.
Be Benefit-Focused. Whatever you say, it has to matter to your potential customer, and it has to be of benefit to him or her. Think client-centered, rather than self-centered.
Ask Open-Ended Questions. Ask questions to help you identify how to better serve each potential customer. Avoid yes or no questions; ask open-ended questions that require an explanation for an answer. For example, instead of asking "How long have you been using product X," ask "What has been the most valuable benefit of using product X?" or "If you were to change brands/to our firm, what would be the most important factor in your decision to do so?"
Ask Questions that Identify Challenges. Your job is to solve the client's challenges, make the client's life easier, or make the client's business more profitable. Ask what the biggest problems they are facing in their business are, and figure out how to address those challenges. If you can do that, you will have many loyal customers.
In the next post, I'll wrap up these 17 powerful phone tips. Until then, take the time to implement the ones above, because, well, they rock!
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