Would it surprise you to know that the easiest part of a telesales call is the opening? At this point of initial contact, you cannot possibly go wrong as there are no expectations that you need to live up to. The initial stage of your telesales call is a ‘no risk zone’ as the reputation of the business or company is not on the line, quotations have not been made, promises or commitments have not been exchanged etc reducing the risk of the business to a bare ‘nil’.
At the same time, it is also most likely the defining factor of your call as it defines and establishes the progress and the course of the conversation. Look at the initial part of the conversation as a gateway to the rest of the conversation. By opening a sales call in a way that intrigues and interests the customer or the prospect maximizes the chances of converting that conversation into a follow-up conversation or a productive sale.
It’s as simple as how you would feel if you got a call from a salesperson in the middle of the day? Most people would find it distracting and interruptive. According to research conducted by Salesforce, 85% of prospects and customers are dissatisfied with their on-the-phone sales experience. So if it is your job to call prospects, you must also make sure to not fall into the trap of getting caught in the ‘pesky telesales agent’ category. Many factors contribute to the success of a telesales call, but investing the time to perfect the right opening to a sales call adds value to the entire conversation.
Kickstart your telesales conversations with 5 easy steps that are productive, structured, and professional that will help you develop an engaging and strong opening.
- Greetings and Introductions
Greetings and Introductions are two steps that are often combined in a string of fast-paced words, leaving the prospect annoyed and confused. Don’t make that mistake.
The foundation of opening a successful sales call begins with plain good manners. This doesn’t mean you launch into a row of societal niceties and pleasantries for which you do not have the time for. There are many telesales folks out there that treat greeting prospects as an ‘option’ but this adds to the ire of the prospect on the other side of the telephone.
‘Hi, Mr Walia. Hope you are well.’
Opening the conversation with the name of the prospect tends to capture the primary attention of the prospect as we are hard-wired to respond to the sound of our name. Such greeting can create a sense of respect and familiarity which are essential for constructing trust and rapport while on call. Don’t quiz the prospect at the beginning of the call as you have yet to establish rapport and you need to conserve time as much as possible without having to deviate from the goal of establishing a relationship and transitioning them into a customer.
‘I’m Sandeep calling from VOIZ. We help companies cut costs like hiring, administration, infra and maintenance by hiring and managing CX talent through VOIZ; that can increase your customer support operations by 90%’
The above introduction is more likely to get the prospect interested in VOIZ and how we can increase their customer support efficiency.
‘My name is Sandeep. I’m a sales representative at VOIZ. We help companies get higher flexibility and champion innovation through an extensible marketplace that scales securely and deploys efficiently.’‘
The prospect will most likely hang up on you and make sure to never pick up another call from the company again. Make sure your introduction is free of jargon and is not pushy by directly jumping into everything the service or product can do. Give direction to your conversation by focusing on your customer first and how the product or service would solve their problem. Always make sure to jump to the point as soon as you are done with the greeting and introduction as some customers tend to view this as a misdirection.
- Ask appropriate ‘initial and crucial’ questions
After concluding your brief introduction, you need to focus on asking questions that will help you understand the motivation that will drive them into becoming interested in the product or service you are offering. Make sure that your questions are delicate yet definitive as this will help you understand the perspective of the prospect better. This will help you save time, understand your prospect’s behaviour; in addition to having the advantage of steering the course of the call.
Remember that your questions need to be informed and should not be framed in a way that leads to you only interrogating them. Your crucial questions should be kept to a minimum and must be phrased in a way that helps you, the agent understands the customer better and in a way that simultaneously keeps the customer interested.
According to gong.io asking between 11-14 discovery call questions during the course of the call correlates with the greatest success.
- Come up with a smashing value statement
Have you heard of prospects that shut sales callers down quickly? We’re sure you have. But have you heard of prospects being engaged on the phone by what the agent is trying to sell to them? That exists too. The difference lies in the way you have engineered your statement or proposition of value. Design your value statement in a way that gives the person you are speaking to a good reason to continue staying on call. This is where your creativity, credibility and your selling skills come into play. Constantly keep in mind that the call is all about what you can offer and do for the prospect. Make sure that your value proposition or value statement is positioned around:
- Time savings
- Production increase
- Profit increase
- Financial or cost savings
- Changes or evolution in legislation
- Industry challenges
For instance: “We recently completed a project with XXX where we onboarded 200 qualified customer support agents through all stages of hiring making it easy for the company to save XXXX man-hours and reduce recruiting costs.”
- Establish pain points
Identifying pain points has never been an easy task. So with limited time on your hands, you can bring up the pain points yourself. By doing so, your prospect is most likely aware of this and willing to respond to it as opposed to getting them to talk of their difficulties. Establishing pain points in the first few minutes of your call increases your success rate as the customer gives you more time to talk about the product and how it is going to be of use to them.
Even something as simple as “We’ve been working with similar companies within your industry and they are facing a major problem. I wanted to know if this is causing you concern as well…”
This piques the interest of the customer and is most likely to guarantee engagement. Make note that although your offering is the same; the pain points vary with each prospect and how they will benefit from the product or service.