Cold calling by phone, also known as teleprospecting, is very different from telemarketing. Telemarketers are selling less expensive products and are trying to get a prospect to purchase their product or service on the first phone call. They are usually calling residential phone numbers and have a memorized talk track. Teleprospecting on the other hand, is a part of the sales process and is all about gathering information and setting in person appointments with decision makers.
Teleprospecting is becoming more and more popular especially with newer companies. Sales managers are beginning to realize that you can reach many more people each day by phone than you can in person. Outside sales representatives spend a lot of their day in the car driving from office park to office park, wasting both time and gas. With the time that these salespeople spend driving, an inside salesperson could make multiple phone calls. There are many benefits to cold calling in person, but statistics are showing that teleprospecting can be much more effective.
If you are in outside sales then there is a good chance that you have cold called prospects in-person first. The next step will be for you to call by phone, ask for the correct decision maker, and set an appointment with them. If you have an inside sales position you are going to be gathering information, setting appointments, and closing deals all over the phone.
Why Phone Calls?
Some sales managers will tell you that in-person cold calls are the most effective form of cold calling; others will say that phone calls are. We can tell you that teleprospecting will allow you to reach out to many more prospects, and if you can develop your talk track then you will set more appointments as well.
More and more businesses are putting up “no soliciting” signs on their doors and training their receptionists not to give out any information. This is making it harder to gather information in person. There is a great possibility of making contact with a decision maker by phone as well. This is because the decision maker won’t know who is on the other line and they might think it is a very important call (which it is). Phone calls are generally shorter interactions than in-person. This is important because decision makers are very busy individuals. They will see a phone call as less risky than an in-person conversation.
The Goal of the Phone Call:
1. Set an appointment with the decision maker. When you are teleprospecting, your main goal is to set an appointment. You may be able to gather lots of information with one phone call, but it is better to schedule an appointment. This will give both you and the prospect time to prepare and come up with important questions that will need to be asked/answered. If you are an outside sales rep then you will be scheduling an in-person appointment. If you are an inside sales rep than you will be scheduling a follow up call.
2. Gather information. If you are not able to set an appointment do not worry. This will happen more often than not. Your new goal is to gather a couple of pieces of helpful information. This could be asking when a better time to call back would be, or asking them who their current vendor is and which product/service they use similar to yours. You will use the information gathered to assist you in setting an appointment the next time you call.
3. Stay Relevant. Phone calls are a great way to stay relevant with a customer who isn’t quite ready to purchase anything but will be in the near future. A quick phone call to check in and remind them that you are still there can go a long way.
Most beginner sales reps have the hardest time getting comfortable on the phone. They lack confidence, find it awkward and even feel ashamed when they are rejected. Remember that there is no consequence for making a mistake on the phone! Practice makes perfect and as long as you stay determined to be successful you will be.
If you can learn to conquer the art of teleprospecting you will make tons of money as a salesperson! Having the right talk track on the phone is 90% of the battle. If you “wing it” on every phone call then you will not be successful. There are many tips and techniques that will take your teleprospecting to the next level.