Preparation and execution are the keys to making successful outbound calls. You need to know the reason why you’re calling and plan your goal accordingly. When you’ve reached your goal, the call is over—don’t oversell and lose it. Here are some ideas for successful outbound calls:
- Know as much as you can about whom you’re calling. This gives you an edge, and you won’t be playing catch-up during the call.
- Know your objective and reason for the call and guide all questions in that direction.
- Sell yourself on your company and products or services so you’re convinced that your call is what is best for the prospect. If you can’t sell yourself first, how can you sell anyone else? Make the call with confidence and resolution.
- Use an outline of what you want to cover so you can stay on track and moving in the right direction. If you need a script, try to memorize it so it doesn’t sound canned and boring. Sound natural and try to adapt to the other person’s personality.
- Don’t say, “Do you have a few minutes?” “How are you today?” or “Do you want to save money?” The person you
called will know you’re an amateur and will probably say “No” and hang up. You don’t really care how they are today; you don’t even know them. This is not a personal call; it’s business.
- If you don’t know the decision maker’s name, ask the operator who to talk to and the correct spelling of the person’s name. If a recording answers the phone, and you don’t want to listen to the whole story, press 0, and you’ll usually get a live operator. Be courteous to the operator—he or she knows a lot more than you do, and you want that person in your corner, not across the ring.
- When you’re connected to the correct decision maker, introduce
yourself by name and company. A simple “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” is enough before you start your presentation. (It’s not a pitch—a professional gives a presentation, while a snake-oil salesman gives a pitch.)
- State your reason for calling and proceed to give the reasons why the person should agree with your presentation. Don’t talk so fast that it’s hard to understand—a short pause now and then gives the person you’re calling a feeling of less pressure.
- If the prospect begins to ask questions about your company, products, or services, you should take the lead in the conversation because you’re the expert. The person will feel more confident if you control the discussion but don’t dominate it. In fact, most people will expect it. If you act wishy-washy or speak quietly, your chances of closing a sale or getting an appointment are significantly diminished.
- Know your product or service well and have additional reference materials near the phone to answer questions you need help with. If you can’t find the answer or you don’t have the authority to answer the question, give the person a specific time at which you will call them back. When you call at exactly that time, you can tell the operator you have a phone appointment with so-and-so at 3 p.m., and would the operator please put you right through.
- If the prospect wants to talk, stop and listen. The person could be giving you valuable information that you need to close the sale. Or he could be telling you why he won’t purchase, which you can use as an objection to overcome.
- When speaking on the phone, imagine that the person is sitting across the table from you. Don’t speak too fast or too slow, too loud or soft. You’re just having a conversation that you should be in control of.
- If you’re trying to set a face-to-face appointment, suggest a few times and ask the person what’s the most convenient for him. If he agrees to a day and time, confirm it again just before you hang up so it’s fresh in the person’s mind and he will be expecting you. Keep your calendar in front of you so you don’t set appointments too close together—you don’t want to be late.
- Avoid using hard-sell tactics where all you do is create stress and unfriendliness. People hate to be pushed into something and are more receptive to being guided in the right direction. Pressuring and forcing people to make a quick decision will probably result in a negative one.
- If you’re making a lot of calls on a regular basis or telemarketing is your life, consider investing in a hands-free headset. Such headsets make it easy to make multiple calls without fumbling with the receiver each time. Always buy the best-quality headset you can afford, because your voice will sound more natural and have less background static.
- Enjoy telemarketing; it’s a chance to talk to a lot of different people who have different needs. You may be able to fill their needs and wants and make money, too! If you enjoy your work, it will be apparent in your calls, and your prospect will be more relaxed and responsive.
- One last idea: If you have a list to call that’s in alphabetical order, try starting at the end and working backward. Chances are those prospects in the X, Y, and Z categories haven’t been called as much and may be easier to work with—they may buy anything! Other telemarketers may have used the same list and given up before they got to the end.